COVID-19 Prompts PETA Call for University of Rhode Island to Shut Down Animal Labs

Experimenters Told 'Non-Essential Animal Research' Should Be 'Drawn Down and Halted' as Part of COVID-19 Response Plan, Which Likely Means the Killing of Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 9, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Kingston, R.I. – Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the University of Rhode Island has informed its experimenters that “[a]ll non-essential animal research … needs to be drawn down and halted” and that “preparations should be made [for long-term studies] to reduce animal counts to [the minimum number] needed to complete study goals,” which will likely lead to the killing of at least hundreds of animals.

PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s president, David M. Dooley, demanding to know why the school conducts noncritical animal experiments.

The University of Rhode Island needs to stop all current and new animal experiments, ban the breeding and purchase of animals, and switch to superior human-relevant research methods. The school also needs to tell taxpayers how many animals it deemed extraneous and killed in response to COVID-19.

“The University of Rhode Island’s use of intelligent animals in experiments as though they were nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment is shameful,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “The COVID-19 pandemic should be a moral and scientific reckoning for the school, which conducts deadly experiments on animals. If it can’t prove that the animals used in its experiments are needed—which we know it can’t—it shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money 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.

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 or click here.

PETA’s letter to the university is available here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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