COVID-19, Violations Prompt PETA Call For Stanford to Shut Down Animal Labs

For Immediate Release:
March 23, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

  • School laboratories to “[r]educe rodent breeding,” likely by killing hundreds of animals, as part of COVID-19 response plan
  • Federal citations include allowing a primate to sustain burns, mice to die, and hamsters to suffer without analgesics after surgery
  • PETA demands that animal testing labs shut down, release information on taxpayer-funded experiments deemed non-essential by Stanford

Stanford, Calif. — Following reports that because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Stanford University is planning to “[r]educe rodent breeding to only numbers required to maintain lines”—which will likely lead to killing hundreds of animals rather than separating males from females—PETA fired off a letter this morning to Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne urging an end to animal experimentation at the school immediately.

PETA questions why any non-essential experiments were ever conducted and points to disturbing reports, newly obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Freedom of Information Act, revealing chronic and systemic violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act in Stanford’s laboratories. Among other incidents, a monkey sustained second-degree burns when a staff member failed to use a heat lamp properly; an unauthorized person performed surgeries on mice, who subsequently died; and hamsters did not receive painkillers after surgical procedures.

Based on Stanford’s repeated and documented failure to abide by animal protection laws and given that the school considers many of its experiments on animals not to be “essential”—as its response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown—PETA is urging it 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, and publicly release information on any and all animals killed because Stanford deemed them not essential to the testing.

“If Stanford does a sloppy, substandard job of caring for animals in fully staffed laboratories, 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 Stanford can’t prove that these experiments are needed—which we know it can’t—it shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on them in the first place.”

Numerous published studies have shown that animal experimentation wastes resources and lives, as more than 90% of highly promising results from basic science research—much of it involving animal experimentation—fail to lead to treatments for humans. 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.

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