Federal Grant Dries Up For Pitt Experimenter Exposed in PETA Investigation

PETA's Exposé Revealed That Mice Were 'Falling Over Dead' in Useless Study

For Immediate Release:
July 23, 2018

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Pittsburgh – For the first time in 11 years, University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) animal experimenter Rajesh Aneja is not receiving grant dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This break in funding follows the 2017 release of PETA’s eyewitness video investigation; letters from PETA scientists to NIH, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, and the chair of Pitt’s animal experimentation oversight committee; protests; ads; a presentation by a PETA scientist at the 10th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; and 129,030 e-mails from PETA supporters to NIH calling for an end to the funding.

PETA’s investigation revealed that Aneja fed mice high-fiber diets and then injected them with a toxin to induce a sepsis-like condition. They suffered for up to three days before they were killed, and they were euthanized earlier only if they were so ill that they couldn’t walk. This suffering was permitted by Pitt and funded by NIH even though NIH has known since 2013 that experiments on mice tell us nothing about what happens to humans afflicted with sepsis. At the time, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins lamented the time and resources spent developing 150 drugs that had successfully treated sepsis in mice but failed in human clinical trials, calling the waste “a heartbreaking loss of decades of research and billions of dollars.”

“Mice may be tiny, but their suffering was immense as the infection spread through their bodies,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “Spending federal funds on sepsis experiments on mice is like paying to put leeches on humans who have influenza—it’s yesterday’s thinking.”

PETA’s investigation of Pitt documented that a monkey was denied pain relief, veterinary decisions were made by nonveterinary staff, mice died of dehydration when staff failed to notice that watering devices weren’t working, rabbits were purposely bred to be deformed, and more. In 2016, the university received $475 million in federal research funding.

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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