Astoundingly Racist Taxpayer-Funded ‘Mouse Fight’ Study Prompts Complaint

PETA Seeks NIH Commitment to Funding More Racially Diverse Scientists Using Human-Relevant, Animal-Free Research Methods

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


In letters sent this morning to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Director Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable and to White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, PETA is taking aim at a racist taxpayer-funded experiment conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago by Lisa Tussing-Humphreys. In the study, she forces mice to fight each other to “mimic” the “ violence observed in urban AA [African American] communities”—purportedly to develop “novel strategies to reduce racial disparities” in colorectal cancer.

PETA is calling for the study, which is funded through June 2022, to be canceled. In its letter to the NIMHD, PETA points out that forcing mice to fight each other obviously does not accurately mimic the real-life experiences of Black Americans—and Tussing-Humphreys’ experiment ignores the systemic racism and other complex socioeconomic factors that create health disparities in communities of color.

“We further urge you to implement the Research Modernization Deal,” the letter states, “a strategy for phasing out animal ‘models,’ which fail to produce treatments for humans 90% of the time. It is supported by the National Medical Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association, which seek to eliminate disparities in healthcare and collectively represent 100,000 African American and Hispanic physicians.”

In its letter to Rice, PETA points to studies showing that the National Institutes of Health is less likely to fund or even review proposals by Black researchers, who are more likely to focus on health disparities, prevention, and patient intervention and significantly less likely to experiment on animals than white experimenters are. Experiments on animals like Tussing-Humphreys’—which have received more than $840,000 from taxpayers via the NIMHD in the last two years—receive funding despite their irrelevance to human health.

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

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