COVID-19, Violations Prompt PETA Call for UC-Berkeley to Shut Down Animal Labs

School Laboratories Will "curtail" Animal Experiments, Likely by Killing Many Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Berkeley, Calif. – In light of reports that as part of a COVID-19 response, the University of California–Berkeley is planning to “ramp down, curtail, or postpone, animal research experiments”—which will likely lead to the killing of many animals—PETA fired off a letter this morning to university president Janet Napolitano urging a shutdown of animal experimentation at the school immediately.

PETA points to disturbing reports obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, revealing chronic and systemic violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in UC-Berkeley’s laboratories. Among other incidents, two bats died after laboratory staff forgot to move them from a transport enclosure and a Rhesus macaque’s toe had to be amputated after the animal escaped and got attacked by another monkey.

Based on UC-Berkeley’s repeated and documented failure to abide by the AWA—and given that the school considers many animals used in its experiments to be extraneous to the testing in the first place, 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 UC-Berkeley deemed them not to be essential to the testing.

“If UC-Berkeley 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 UC-Berkeley can’t prove that these animals in experiments are needed, it shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on animal experiments 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 or click here.

PETA’s letter to UC-Berkeley 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