Deaths of Dog, Rabbit, and Guinea Pig at the University of Utah: PETA Statement

For Immediate Release:
January 19, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Salt Lake City – Please see PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo’s statement regarding a just-posted inspection report documenting numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at the University of Utah:

The University of Utah rakes in millions of dollars for experiments on animals but can’t manage to abide by minimal animal welfare regulations. A just-released government document obtained by PETA reveals that the clinic was cited for obscene incompetence and neglect resulting in animal deaths. A dog who suffered from experimentally inflicted heart failure died after he wasn’t properly monitored. A rabbit suffocated to death while under anesthesia after workers neglected to open a valve to permit the animal to breathe. And a guinea pig died of an anesthetic overdose after laboratory staff gave the animal 10 times the correct dose. The university was also cited for the failure of its animal experimentation oversight body to properly review the anesthetic regimen in an experimental protocol.

The University of Utah has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In 2020, the school was cited after two marmoset monkeys died of overheating and distress when they were left overnight in their nest box, and three marmosets died after they were used in experimental surgeries but not given adequate veterinary care. In 2016, a macaque monkey was negligently burned during a surgical procedure and subsequently euthanized. In 2009, PETA released video footage from its undercover investigation of the school’s laboratories. As a result of this investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the university for multiple violations of the AWA.

In 2020, the University of Utah received more than $228 million in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health, half of which is estimated to fund experiments on animals. Studies show that a staggering 90% of basic research—most of which involves animals, like the type of experiments conducted at the University of Utah—fails to lead to treatments for humans. The university should redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methodologies that will actually help humans, and we urge officials there to adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Deal.

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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