Animals Starved to Death, Experimenters Gone Rogue in NIH Labs; Heads Must Roll, PETA Says

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Washington – This morning, PETA fired off a letter to Nina Schor, acting deputy director of National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Intramural Research Program, calling on her to fire all individuals who have failed to comply with basic, minimum animal welfare standards stipulated by law. This action follows PETA’s acquisition of damning federal reports from January through May, revealing 17 new animal welfare violations in NIH’s massive intramural laboratories. Previously, PETA uncovered earlier reports documenting a staggering 120 violations in the past three years.

PETA outlines in the letter appalling violations, including that animals died of starvation and thirst after workers failed to give them food and water. Experimenters also failed to provide animals with adequate pain relief following invasive surgeries, went rogue and carried out unapproved procedures, drugged animals to death, and failed to comply with approved humane endpoints, meaning that animals experienced pain and distress beyond what was “permitted.”

“NIH experimenters either can’t or won’t comply with minimal animal welfare standards, and animals are enduring unrelenting pain and misery as a result,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “NIH needs a visionary leader, not another apologist who can’t even keep his own house in order.”

Last year, PETA applauded the news that now-former NIH Director Francis Collins—an animal experimentation enthusiast who oversaw a spending spree of nearly half the agency’s budget on archaic animal experiments—would be resigning. Studies show that roughly 95% of new drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials. That may be why a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently wrote to NIH asking it to phase out animal experiments. The Research Modernization Deal, developed by PETA scientists, provides a blueprint for moving science into the 21st century, as researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute are doing.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind