Amputation Without Pain Relief, Botched Euthanasia in Northwestern Labs

School’s Unapproved Experiments Prompt Plea From PETA

For Immediate Release:
September 29, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Evanston, Ill.

Today, after uncovering 14 recent violations of federal animal welfare guidelines in Northwestern University laboratories, PETA is urging the school’s president, Michael H. Schill, to end the chronic and egregious violations and to prohibit offenders—including grant-holding professors—from having contact with animals.

The federal reports obtained by PETA document multiple painful experiments on animals between 2020 and 2021, many of them performed in violation of the law, without approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and by experimenters who lack proper training. Incidents include the following:

  • An inadequately trained experimenter unsuccessfully tried to kill mice by manually pulling their heads and hind regions in opposite directions.
  • Experimenters amputated a portion of the tails of mice without providing the required pain relief.
  • Experimenters gave mice an unapproved drug that leaked into their bedding from their water bottle. The mice were euthanized.
  • Over a dozen mice who developed skin lesions after surgery were later euthanized or found dead.
  • Nine mice drowned after a laboratory member improperly secured a cage, causing the watering system to leak from that cage to the ones below.

“Northwestern staff have botched surgeries and killed animals in cruel, unapproved experiments—in violation of federal law,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on President Schill to end the horror show in the university’s laboratories by banning rogue experimenters and embracing animal-free research.”

In 2020, PETA urged then-President Morton Schapiro to address the school’s disregard for animal welfare—but federal violations have only continued to pile up. Last year, Northwestern received nearly $48 million in taxpayer funds from the National Institutes of Health, and an estimated half of that money was allocated to experiments on animals, even though studies show that a staggering 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans. PETA is calling on the school to adopt the Research Modernization Deal, developed by PETA scientists, which provides a strategy for replacing animals with modern, high-tech research methods.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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