Skip to Main Content

PETA Keeps Fighting to Expose Lab Horrors

Written by PETA | January 14, 2011

Because the University of Utah (the U) still doesn’t want to ‘fess up about exactly how experimenters are tormenting and killing dogs, cats, monkeys, and other animals behind the doors of its laboratories, PETA has filed a lawsuit against the U for withholding records.

We originally requested the records—which the school is required to release under Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA)—following our 8-month undercover investigation at the U, but the school repeatedly sought ways to stonewall and delayed releasing the documents for nearly a year.

PETA persisted, and school officials begrudgingly turned over 1,300 pages of records related to the animals locked inside the university’s laboratories, but with much of the key information deleted. They also charged us $2,420 for the records. This attempt to keep PETA from exposing the truth is not only unethical but also illegal. Under GRAMA, if the university wants to redact any information in a document, it is required to cite a legitimate reason for every single redaction, which the U failed to do. PETA now seeks to obtain the complete set of documents and force the U to repay some of the exorbitant fee it charged for the redaction-riddled records.

PETA’s 2009 investigation revealed that, among other abuses, a cat had holes drilled into his skull and electrodes inserted into his brain; week-old kittens had chemicals injected into their brains, causing painful fluid buildups; dogs had their chests cut open and devices implanted on their hearts; and sick and injured animals were left to die with no veterinary care. The investigation led Utah to repeal an archaic law requiring animal shelters to sell homeless animals to laboratories for use in experiments. It also prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cite the U for violations of animal welfare laws.

You might remember that last month, we successfully settled a similar lawsuit that we filed against Davis County, Utah, in order to force the county to turn over its documents regarding animals its shelter had sold to the U. Our suggestion: The school should take a cue from Davis County, save itself some trouble and legal expense, and hand over the information, which the public has a legal right to see.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • animal lover says:

    it makes me want to cry and feel sick i cant even fatham it im going to be sick this should be on the news thst would help but i still cant believe peeps actually do this.

  • Mike Quinoa says:


    “Animal research has saved billions of lives” is a pretty broad statement. Can you give some specifics?

    As PETA mentioned, ” In 2004, the FDA reported that 92 out of every 100 drugs that successfully pass animal trials, subsequently fail human trials.”

    Below is a copy and paste from where animal testing was not a reliable indicator for the safety and efficacy of drugs in humans:

    The following lists a few of the thousands of drugs with side effects passed as safe for human consumption by animal testing, along with damages caused:

    Eraldin (for heart disease) – Corneal damage including blindness.

    Paracetamol (painkiller) – 1,500 people had to be hospitalized in Great Britain in 1971.

    Orabilex – caused kidney damages with fatal outcome.

    MEL/29 (anti-hypertensive) – caused cataracts.

    Methaqualone (hypnotic) – caused severe psychic disturbances leading to at least 366 deaths, mainly through murder or suicide.

    Thalidomide (tranquillizer) – caused 10,000 malformed children.

    Isoproterenol (asthma) – caused 3,500 deaths in the sixties.

    Stilboestrol (prostate cancer) – caused cancer in young women.

    Trilergan (anti-allergic) – caused viral hepatitis.

    Flamamil (rheumatism) – caused loss of consciousness.

    Phenformin (diabetes) – caused 1,000 deaths annually until withdrawn.

    Atromid S (cholesterol) – caused deaths from cancer, liver, gallbladder and intestinal disease.

    Valium (tranquillizer) – addictive in moderate doses.

    Preludin & Maxiton (diet pills) – caused serious damage to the heart and the nervous system.

    Nembutal (insomnia) – caused insomnia.

    Pronap & Plaxin (tranquillizer) – killed many babies.

    Phenacetin (painkiller) – caused severe damages to kidneys and red blood corpuscles.

    Amydopyrine (painkiller) – caused blood disease.

    Marzine (nausea) – damaged children.

    Reserpine (anti-hypertensive) – increased risks of cancer of the brain, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, skin and women’s breasts.

    Methotrexate (leukemia) – caused intestinal hemorrhage, severe anemia and tumors.

    Urethane (leukemia) – caused cancer of liver, lungs and bone marrow.

    Mitotane (leukemia) – caused kidney damage.

    Cyclophosphamide (cancer) – caused liver and lung damage.

    Isoniazid (tuberculosis) – caused liver destruction.

    Kanamycin (tuberculosis) – caused deafness and kidney destruction.

    Chloromycetin (typhoid) – caused leukemia, cardiovascular collapse and death.

    Phenolphthalein (laxative) – caused kidney damage, delirium and death.

    Clioquinol (diarrhea) – caused blindness, paralysis and death.

    DES (prevent miscarriage) – caused birth defects and cancer.

    Debendox (nausea) – caused birth defects.

    Accutane (acne) – caused deafness and kidney destruction.

  • PETA says:

    Re: Hynotoad. While insulin was once traditionally derived from pigs or cows, it can now also be derived from yeast. Moreover, animal research does cost millions of lives. Each year, more than 100 million animals—including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds—are killed in U.S. laboratories for chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing; biology lessons; medical training; and curiosity-driven experimentation. And testing on animals is bad science. Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires new drugs to undergo short-term toxicity testing on two species as well as separate testing for long-term toxicology, there are huge problems with these methods: 92 out of every 100 drugs that pass animal tests fail in clinical trials in humans. Humane alternatives need to be supported. To learn more about testing on animals, please visit:

  • PETA says:

    Re: Joanie. We understand your frustration. When one views animal abuse firsthand, it is a natural impulse to want to interfere and rescue those animals. But then what about all the millions of animals we cannot see? If we were able to take these animals out of these situations one at a time, it would indeed save those beings—but it would do nothing to stem the tide of animal abuse that causes suffering to so many others. Our best hope for them is to show government officials and caring people like you what terrible things happen and then work to try to stop such acts. We hope that this investigation, and all of our footage, has inspired you to take action. Please sign up for PETA’s Action Team here:

  • Holly Riggs UK says:

    Testing on animals DOES NOT progress medical research It is an excuse for cruel and sadistic individuals to conduct torture on innocent animals. Anyone with any compassion would never do anything like this

  • hypnotoad says:

    animal research has saved billions of lives. The vice president of PETA uses insulin which contains bovine byproducts. Insulin is just one example. That is the definition of hypocritical. Just wanted to see how long before this one is deleted.

  • Fred says:

    There is no censoring of information – it’s been blocked until it’s been reviewed by the Attorney General for the state. The problem is PETA, when you look at FOI, and write an FOI request, they do not have to give all the info right off – they can refuse and then let the state AG rule on it. If you win, then you must pay for the copies and the like. The costs include pay for the researchers gathering the information as well as printouts of the pages, which yes can range into the amount you listed. If you lose, then you lose because it’s covered by the law. I don’t know if Uni. of Utah has done anything wrong or not – that is up for review. That said, if there is “blocked” info and the AG rules in your favor, then you can crow. Until then, we need to respect the law in order to win out. Not respecting FOI laws and complaining about blocked areas without going the next step does nothing for animal welfare.

  • KashmereKatt says:

    4mula1 how sadly appropo this quote is.  It is shockingly disgusting & abhorent that this insane mutilation of defenseless animals continues to happen in the hallowed halls of “higher education”.  I really cannot imagine how heart wrenching it must have been for the designated PETA person to have to see this torture happening on a daily basis & not be able to say or do anything.  I know in this case the end justifies the means… Hopefully these actions will be banned sooner rather than later.  Simply tragic.

  • nancy says:

    As always, thank you for your persistence PETA! This is a great tactic you’re using.

  • Mara says:

    How can someone worling there not even agree with what they are doing? Are we not technologically past animal testing? What is the need for are the dead and suffering animals?

  • Liv says:

    Well, have a look at this shirt, you might want to support it, i found it really cute an effective for our community, spread the word. this is just a little action to take.

  • Joanie says:

    Why didn’t the Peta investigator step in to show care for the mistreated animals instead of helping the University kill them? Just like your undercover ops on factory farms, no one is hired just to stand around and twiddle their thumbs; I say the most horrible abuses are performed by the Peta ops themselves just to have the so-called video footage and convince all to join their “perfect utopia”. Seig Hail!

  • Mallory says:

    This is absolutely horrible and outrageous!!! Utah deserves to be severely penalized for these actions!!

  • jadewarlock says:

    (I ask that this be posted to better educate members regarding certain laws). Jennifer, Freedom of Information Act does allow for freedom to request documents; however, certain documents can be blocked for legitimate causes. These go to the State Attorney General for advisement and ruling. It looks like in this case that happened, and the documents were released. You can request, but if the University says no and the state AG agrees, you will not get access unless you sue in a court of law. Most likely there though, they side with the AG’s decision. That said, FOI is for the information access only – one must still be willing to pay any and all fees for the printing of said documents. The fees are NOT for the information itself, but for the costs of printing pages and for the worker’s paychecks who have to go and gather the information. It is also NOT a stonewalling attempt to keep people from access to information. As we see – PETA has the moneys to pay for the information, therefore this shouldn’t be an issue. For more information, read up in detail regarding the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Jennifer says:

    It is illegal to withold information. Haven’t they ever heard of the Freedom Of Information Act?

  • Gala says:

    The only reason why I can see this university to act this way is because they know that what they are hiding is wrong and are trying to escape the horrible publicity it will innevitably bring. If they weren’t breaking any laws, they would have given everything about the subject freely and not charge so much.

  • Kim says:

    Stop this non-sense right now!

  • txglitterangel says:

    When will people learn that the only way to get a good read on what it wiill do is to test on humans. at least when something aint right we can SAY somethiing. it kills me to hear about thisa knowing they thiink its for our benefit.. we are still goin to get old n die no matter what how many aminals do we have to hurt/kill to realize this?!?! in the end its still goinn to be them!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Good work, PETA. I love this course of action. If the U has nothing to hide, why then are they censuring information? Acquisition of the redaction-free records will expose for all to see the inanity of their cruel experiments.

  • 4mula1 says:

    MRMCMED.ORG animal research has NEVER been validated. INSANITY: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – albert einstein

  • YES says:

    YOU GO PETA!!!