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

School Laboratories to ‘Ramp Down’ Studies, Likely by Killing Many Animals

For Immediate Release:
May 6, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Davis, Calif.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the University of California–Davis is telling experimenters to “ramp down all noncritical on-campus research activities,” which will likely involve killing many animals.

PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s chancellor, Gary S. May, 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 the number of animals it deems nonessential and euthanizes in response to COVID-19 and to stop all current and new animal experiments.

According to public records obtained by PETA, UC-Davis was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after its inspectors found that a guinea pig died because of a mistake by a staff member, a rabbit died after air was injected into the animal’s bloodstream, and a primate had to be euthanized after being injured. Additionally, public records obtained from the National Institutes of Health show that UC-Davis has reported many violations of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, including the following: 25 frogs died from exposure to bleach after staff performed an unapproved tank-cleaning procedure; 54 titi monkeys who received canine vaccines developed dermatitis, lameness, and conjunctivitis, and three of them had to be euthanized; a primate who had lost more than 15% of his or her bodyweight was subjected to a surgery against protocol; 50 mice died and 10 others had to be euthanized after receiving an experimental drug; and mice who were used in a smoke inhalation experiment were euthanized after being exposed to smoke from an electrical fire.

“UC-Davis’ use of intelligent and sensitive animals in experiments as though they were nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment is shameful,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “The COVID-19 pandemic 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 safe and 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 chancellor is available here.

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