COVID-19, Violations Prompt PETA Call for Princeton University to Shut Down Animal Labs

Experimenters Were Told 'to Halt All Non-Essential On-Campus Research Activities' as Part of COVID-19 Response Plan

For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Princeton, N.J. – Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Princeton University told experimenters “to halt all non-essential on-campus research activities,” which likely will result in the killing of hundreds or more animals.

PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, demanding to know why the school conducts noncritical animal experiments. The group is also asking the public to e-mail the university via this action alert to urge it to be transparent regarding how many animals it deems nonessential and euthanizes in response to COVID-19 and to stop all current and new animal experiments.

Reports obtained from the National Institutes of Health reveal chronic and systemic violations of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in Princeton’s laboratories, including the following: The hind legs of 20 mice were paralyzed after an unapproved procedure. This incident was not reported to the veterinary staff, and experimenters subjected 15 of these mice to another procedure, even though a veterinarian had instructed them to euthanize the animals. In addition, a primate did not receive care after an invasive experimental procedure, and a mouse died when staff failed to follow a treatment plan.

Princeton’s disregard for animal protection laws and its admission that it runs noncritical animal experiments prove that it needs to stop all animal experimentation, ban the breeding and purchase of animals, and switch to human-relevant research methods.

“Princeton does a sloppy, substandard job of caring for 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 it keeps inside small steel cages. If it can’t prove that the experiments are essential—and its response to the pandemic indicates that they’re not—it must not be permitted to continue squandering taxpayer money on them once the pandemic is over.”

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 PETA.org or click here.

PETA’s letter to the university is available here.

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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