COVID-19 Prompts PETA Call for Drexel University to Shut Down Animal Labs

School Tells Laboratories to Suspend 'Non-Critical Research Activities' and 'Cull All Non-Critical Animals'

For Immediate Release:
March 26, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Philadelphia – In light of reports that as part of a COVID-19 response, Drexel University is planning to “suspend on-campus, non-critical research activities” in its laboratories—and telling experimenters to “cull all non-critical animals” by euthanizing them—PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s president, John Fry, urging a shutdown of animal experimentation at the school immediately.

Given that the school considers many animals used in its experiments to be “non-critical” or extraneous to the testing, as its response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, PETA is urging the university to prohibit the approval of new animal protocols and experiments, ban the breeding and acquisition of animals for laboratories, finalize and end current animal experiments, switch to superior human-relevant research methods if these experiments cannot concretely be shown to have improved human health, and publicly release information on any and all animals killed because Drexel deemed them not to be essential to the testing.

“Drexel University’s use of intelligent animals in deadly experiments as though they are nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment is shameful,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “COVID-19 should be a moral and scientific reckoning for the school: If the university can’t prove that the animals used in its laboratories are needed, it shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on breeding, buying, or experimenting on them.”

Numerous published studies have shown that animal experimentation wastes resources and lives, as more than 90% of highly promising results from basic scientific research—much of it involving animal experimentation—fail to lead to treatments for humans. (Please read under “Lack of benefit for humans” here.) And 95% of new medications that are found to be effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.

According to a PETA analysis, the National Institutes of Health wastes $18 billion annually on ineffective animal tests—which instead could have been spent on essential medical supplies that better protect humans from COVID-19, such as more than 69 billion medical masks, 25 million portable ventilators, 6 billion bottles of hand sanitizer, or 600 million respiratory face shields.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.

PETA’s letter to Drexel University is available here.

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“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