COVID-19. Violations Prompt PETA Call for Oregon Health & Science University to Shut Down Animal Labs

School Laboratories' 'Research Mission Has Been Curtailed'—Likely by Killing Hundreds of Animals—as Part of COVID-19 Response Plan

For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Portland, Ore. – As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has announced that its “research mission has been curtailed,” which will likely lead to the killing of at least hundreds of animals in laboratories.

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

Reports obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal chronic and systemic violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act in OHSU’s laboratories. Among other incidents, four prairie voles died of dehydration and another had to be euthanized when staff forgot to provide them with water, a primate who was subjected to a surgery did not receive the appropriate postoperative medications, a young primate had to be euthanized after getting constrained by the PVC pipes of a resting perch, and a primate’s tail was amputated after it was injured during handling.

PETA contends that OHSU’s disregard of animal protection laws and admission that it runs noncritical animal experiments prove that the school needs to stop all animal experiments, ban the breeding and purchase of animals, and switch to human-relevant research methods. It also needs to tell taxpayers how many animals it deemed extraneous and killed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“OHSU does a sloppy, substandard job of ensuring the welfare of animals in fully staffed laboratories, so nothing good can be expected amid a pandemic,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “The COVID-19 outbreak should be a moral and scientific reckoning for the school, which conducts deadly experiments on animals. If it can’t prove that these 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