COVID-19, Violations Prompt PETA Call for Washington State University to Shut Down Animal Labs

School Experimenters Urged to Adopt a ‘Depopulation’ Plan, Likely by Killing Hundreds of Animals, as Part of COVID-19 Response

For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Pullman, Wash.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Washington State University (WSU) is urging its experimenters to adopt a “depopulation” plan, which will likely lead to the killing of at least hundreds of animals in laboratories.

PETA fired off a letter today to the university’s president, Kirk H. Schulz, demanding to know why the school conducts noncritical animal experiments.

Reports obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal chronic and systemic violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act in WSU’s laboratories. Among other incidents, a dog died when a veterinarian failed to examine him or her, unlabeled syringes containing medications were found in a refrigerator, and three bighorn sheep received 50 times the approved dosage of a drug for three consecutive days.

PETA contends that WSU’s disregard of animal protection laws and its admission that it runs noncritical animal experiments prove that the school needs to stop all animal experiments, ban the breeding and purchase of animals, and switch to human-relevant research methods. It also needs to tell taxpayers how many animals it deemed extraneous and killed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Washington State University does a sloppy, substandard job of ensuring the welfare of animals in fully staffed laboratories, so nothing good can be expected of it 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 it 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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