Forensic Lab Dedicated to Crimes Against Animals

In Ashland, Oregon there is a large building, some 40,000 square feet and at first sight you would not know what was inside, as it appears to be nothing special.

However, inside this building is one of the most unusual laboratories found anywhere around the globe. It is a forensic laboratory which focuses purely on crimes against animals.

At first, it may be difficult to know why there would be a need for a forensic crime laboratory just for animals, but the global trade in trafficking illegal animals and other wildlife is worth around $19 billion, behind only drug trafficking, counterfeiting and trafficking of people.

The crime laboratory in Oregon is constantly busy with cases arriving on a daily basis from everywhere and anywhere in the world. This is due to the fact that it is the only forensic facility used by those who are signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which some 154 countries belong to.

The laboratory director, Ken Goddard, has said that as well as dealing with carcasses or decomposed animals, they also have to deal with different body parts which have been turned into watch bands, carvings, fur coats, purses and other items.

Their main task is then to decide what type of animal they are dealing with and then to analyze the evidence to see if it can lead them to a suspect, of the human kind. They may then need to testify against the perpetrator.

As Goddard went on to say, they never know from one day to the next, what they will have to deal with.