COVID-19 Crisis: Pelosi and McConnell Must Embrace New Research Deal

PETA Urges Congressional Leaders to Recognize ‘Research Modernization Deal’ As Animal Experiments Fail to Provide Treatments, Vaccines

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—as new vaccines move straight to human trials without the usual lengthy animal tests and universities cancel or suspend animal studies—PETA is urging Senate and Congressional leaders to seize this watershed moment in history and reject animal experiments, which overwhelmingly fail to provide treatments for human disease, and modernize health research. In a letter sent today to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, PETA shared its Research Modernization Deal, which starkly exposes the failure of animal “models” and outlines a strategy for a better way forward.

The Research Modernization Deal points to studies showing that 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to human therapies—as well as the government’s own evidence that 95% of all new medications that test safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials. Failure rates are even higher in specific disease research areas, including Alzheimer’s (99.6%), cancer (96.6), HIV/AIDS (100%), and stroke (100%). Yet the National Institutes of Health spends nearly half its annual budget on animal experiments.

“COVID-19 has opened the door to a better way to conduct scientifically sound, human-relevant research,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “We are now safely bypassing animal experiments in favor of methods that will tell us what does—and does not—work much more quickly. This is the essence of the Research Modernization Deal, and now is the moment to recognize it.”

The Research Modernization Deal is supported by physician groups representing 100,000 doctors, including the National Medical Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association. It provides a detailed strategy for freeing up funds for available human-relevant methods, including immediately eliminating the use of animals in areas where they have already been shown to be poor surrogates for humans, critically reviewing other areas of research to determine where animal use can be phased out, and introducing an ethical cost-benefit analysis system.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s full letter to the House and Senate leaders is available here. For more information, please visit

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