COVID-19, Violations Prompt PETA Call for U of Michigan to Shut Down Animal Labs

School Laboratories Will "Ramp Down All Noncritical Laboratory Research Activities," Likely by Killing Many Animals

For Immediate Release:
March 23, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Ann Arbor, Mich. – In light of reports that as part of a COVID-19 response, the University of Michigan (UM) is planning to “ramp down all noncritical laboratory research activities”—which will likely lead to the killing of many animals, particularly males and newborn pups—PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s president, Mark S. Schlissel, urging a shutdown of animal experimentation at the school immediately.

PETA points to disturbing reports obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture website and from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the Freedom of Information Act, revealing chronic and systemic violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in UM’s laboratories. Among other incidents, a pig escaped while arterial and venous catheter lines were still attached to the animal’s body. In addition, sloppy surgeries were performed on mice and rats, mice were left without water until they got dehydrated, mice died after receiving a concentrated dose of analgesic, and unapproved abdominal surgeries were performed by an unauthorized person.

Based on UM’s repeated and documented failure to abide by the AWA and NIH PHS Policy—and given that the school considers many of its experiments on animals to be “noncritical,” 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, and publicly release information on any and all animals killed because UM deemed them not to be essential to the testing.

“If UM 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. “COVID-19 should be a moral and scientific reckoning for the school: If UM can’t prove that these deadly experiments on animals are needed, 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 scientific 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 PETA.org or click here.

PETA’s letter to UM 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