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Oregon gay sheep experiment challenged by tennis champ

10:10 AM PST on Sunday, November 5, 2006

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — Tennis champion Martina Navratilova says that there is some research going on at OSU and OHSU that is "homophobic and cruel".

Researchers there have searched for years for biological differences that might distinguish rams who mount ewes from rams who mount rams. Researchers say roughly 5 percent to 8 percent of rams are "male-oriented". The avoid the term "gay" saying it is too human-focused.

Navratilova -- who is a lesbian -- wrote letters to the presidents of both institutions this week at the urging of PETA. The animal rights group recently asked about 14,000 people to send e-mails opposing the experiments.

Some animals in the studies are killed so researchers can study their brains. PETA says the test of sheep sexual preference -- that leaves the animals in a room while a ram chooses which to mount -- is like rape. PETA also questions Oregon State's statement that the research could help ranchers avoid spending thousands of dollars on rams that won't breed saying it sounds like a program of sexual eugenics in animals.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP 11-04-06 1936MST