COVID-19, Violations Prompt PETA Call for University of Wisconsin-Madison to Shut Down Animal Labs

School Allows Only ‘Essential Research,’ Which Likely Means the Killing of Hundreds of Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has told experimenters that only “essential research” is permitted and to “consider reduction or cessation of non-critical animal breeding,” which likely will lead to the killing of hundreds or more animals.

PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s chancellor, Rebecca Blank, demanding to know why the school conducts noncritical animal experiments.

According to public records obtained by PETA from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, UW-Madison was cited by the agency after its inspectors found on several occasions that primates had been injured and their body parts had been amputated or lost after staff failed to lock their confinement areas, which allowed the animals to escape and get into fights. In addition, a marmoset’s femur was broken as a result of rough handling. Public records obtained by PETA from the National Institutes of Health via the Freedom of Information Act show that UW-Madison has reported many violations of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, including the following: Various primates were injured and required veterinary attention because they got into fights after staff failed to secure their confinement areas, and a marmoset was overdosed with an anti-inflammatory agent.

“UW-Madison 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. If the university can’t prove that these experiments are needed—which we know it can’t—it shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on them.”

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 or click here.

PETA’s letter to the university is available here.

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