Jackson Lab: Cruelty to Mice and Culture of Indifference

PETA Asks Feds to Investigate Allegations of Neglect, Incompetence, and a Culture of Disregard That Caused Animals to Drown, Starve, Dehydrate, and Suffocate

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2017

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bar Harbor, Maine

PETA has filed a complaint calling on the National Institutes of Health to investigate a whistleblower’s report that workers at The Jackson Laboratory in Maine—which experiments on mice and is one of the world’s largest breeders and sellers of mice for use in experimentation—neglect animals and handle them roughly, causing them pain and suffering. Jackson owns a massive laboratory in Sacramento.

According to the whistleblower, employees used their fingernails to tear off the ends of mice’s tails in an imprecise attempt to collect tissue for genotyping, when a painless cheek swab could have be used. Mice drowned in cages when employees failed to check the watering system. Mold was growing on some animals. Mice were injured or killed after severe crowding led to fighting. Those who were prevented from reaching food and water starved or died from thirst. And euthanasia chambers were reportedly stuffed with twice as many mice as allowed, worsening their pain and distress as they died from asphyxiation.

Supervisors allegedly looked the other way as employees falsified animal-care and cleaning charts. Managers also broke the confidentiality of insiders who reported neglect and cruelty.

PETA contacted Jackson Laboratory President and CEO Edison Liu before filing the complaint and offered to share allegations and work toward improvements. He did not respond.

“Jackson Laboratory reaps tens of millions of dollars in tax-funded grants and by selling genetically modified mice who are obese, crippled, and prone to developing heart disease and depression, even though studies with these animals have largely failed,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Touting these animals as useful to finding cures amounts to fraud—not to mention that Jackson apparently can’t even care for them properly.”

Federal documents obtained by PETA show a history of violations at Jackson stretching back to 2006. Mice have died from thirst, suffocated when placed in jars and forgotten, and been found alive among dead mice in plastic bags in freezers. Experimenters also deviated from approved experimental protocols without authorization, calling scientific procedures into question.

PETA’s complaint is here and federal documents are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.

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