PETA Exposé: Inside NIH’s Annual Party That Celebrates Killing Animals

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3 min read

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently hosted its seventh annual “Animal Celebration and Reflection Ceremony,” a spectacle so colossally tone-deaf and spectacularly insincere it bends credulity like light around a black hole.

On a warm, sunny day on the grounds of the NIH Maryland campus, agency officials spoke glowingly of their “gratitude” for the animals they maim and kill in pointless tests, as though the act itself would somehow absolve them of their work-a-day cruelty.

They somberly placed 23 flowers on a decorative plaque dedicated to their “recognition and gratitude” for the heaps of corpses of individuals who never consented to be poisoned, tormented, locked in solitary confinement, or abused in any other way. The ceremonial act of laying 23 flowers—one for each of the NIH intramural institutes and centers, not the animals imprisoned in them—was the cynical cherry atop a mudpie of an event, which was later recounted in an unabashedly uncritical article.

Infographic for NIH

Meanwhile, at those 23 facilities, more than 568,000 animals who have never experienced a warm, sunny day or touched the grass that NIH officials trod upon in a ceremony as perverse as their work live in constant fear that will only end when an experimenter decides to kill them.

En Route to Delusionville

In a speech given without any cognizance of its irony, Nina Schor, NIH’s deputy director of intramural research, lauded staffers who ensure that animals are “cared for in a way that looks after their physical wellbeing, their mental health and their use in appropriate numbers to make their use worthwhile.”

monkeys scared with fake spiders and snakes at NIH
NIH experimenter Elisabeth Murray’s snakes and spiders are artificial but realistic-looking, and some can move and even jump. In response, some of her monkey victims freeze or turn away. Others panic and shake their cage. Some grimace or smack their lips. All of them go into a state of distress.

Wow. There’s a whole lot to unpack there.

Here are just a few examples of the “care” NIH has for animals’ well-being:

Maybe Schor was referring to Elisabeth Murray, the NIH experimenter who saws open monkeys’ skulls, scrambles their brains, and locks them in a tiny cage in order to terrify them with fake but realistic-looking snakes and spiders before she kills them.

We clearly have a very different definition of what constitutes caring for animals’ mental health and well-being, Nina.

The Train Stops Here

NIH wastes about $19 billion in taxpayer money every year on painful and deadly animal experiments that don’t advance human health. PETA scientists developed the Research Modernization Deal to provide a comprehensive strategy for phasing out animal tests in favor of more effective, human-relevant research methods.

Please take action today to urge your legislators to push NIH to ditch cruel and pointless animal experiments and instead adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Deal:

Then urge your U.S. representative to cosponsor the Cease Animal Research Grants Overseas Act, a bill that would prevent NIH from funding experiments on animals in foreign laboratories:

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