‘Dinosaurs’ to Tail President Biden, Urge Appointment of Progressive NIH Director

Francis Collins’ Replacement Must Pull Agency Into 21st Century, Embrace Research Modernization Deal, PETA Says

For Immediate Release:
October 12, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins is stepping down, and PETA supporters in giant blow-up dinosaur costumes will gather outside the White House, follow President Joe Biden to various events, and appear around Washington carrying signs that read, “Biden, Don’t Appoint Another NIH Dinosaur.” PETA is urging the president to take us out of the scientific Stone Age and choose a visionary replacement who will end the agency’s funding of animal tests and instead invest in state-of-the-art research methods like organs-on-a chip, high-speed computer analysis, and three-dimensional tissue models.

With Collins at the helm, NIH squandered nearly half its budget—$19.5 billion in 2020—on animal experiments every year, even though 95% of drugs that appear safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials and more than 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans.

“NIH’s failure to move away from outdated animal experiments continues to impede the development of new treatments, vaccines, and cures,” says neuroscientist and former NIH researcher Dr. Katherine Roe, who now works for PETA. “President Biden must move research out of the Stone Age and appoint a director who will lead the U.S. to the forefront of worldwide scientific research.”

PETA is urging Biden to embrace the Research Modernization Deal, developed by PETA scientists, which outlines the proven failure of animal studies and provides a strategy to phase them out and redirect funding to more promising areas of research. Last month after reviewing the Research Modernization Deal, members of the European Parliament voted in favor of developing an action plan to phase out animal experiments, including a timeline.

In its strategic plan for 2016 to 2020, NIH admitted that animal studies are problematic and often result in “much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies”—but under Collins’ leadership, the agency failed to right its path.

Collins’ resignation comes after PETA protested in front of his home, published a high-profile opinion piece demanding new leadership at NIH that appeared in the Miami Herald and other newspapers, and ran full-page ads in local media outlets stating, “Francis Collins Must Go.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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