Feds Ax Funding for Racist Mouse Fight Study of Black Violence After PETA Complaint

For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


Following a brief, vigorous campaign by PETA, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has notified the group that the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) pulled funding for a racist study. Experimenters there subjected mice to “episodic aggression”—meaning the animals were forced to fight or one would be attacked by a larger, more aggressive one—purportedly to “mimic … structural violence observed in urban [African American] communities.”.

After uncovering the experiment, PETA contacted NIMHD, its National Advisory Council, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and rallied more than 40,000 supporters to demand an end to the insensitive test. PETA pointed out that exposing mice to aggression cannot mimic the real-life experiences of Black Americans, since it ignores the complex historical and socioeconomic factors that have created health disparities in communities of color.

“This mouse study was cruel to animals, racist, and a waste of money,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “We urge the National Institutes of Health to build upon this progress by funding superior, non-animal research to advance human health ethically and equitably.”

In its letter to Rice, PETA pointed to studies showing that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is less likely to fund or even review proposals by Black researchers, who are more likely to focus on health disparities, prevention, and patient intervention and significantly less likely to experiment on animals than white experimenters are.

PETA is now calling on NIMHD, which is part of NIH, to implement PETA’s Research Modernization Deal, which offers a strategy for phasing out animal testing, which fails to produce treatments for humans 90% of the time. It has received support from the National Medical Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association, which seek to eliminate disparities in health care and collectively represent 100,000 Black and Hispanic physicians across the country.

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

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