Major Funders Shun Red Bull-Backed Charity After PETA Exposes Deadly Tests

Ball Corporation, Austrian Government Distance Themselves From Wings for Life, a Charity That Funds Spinal Injury Tests on Monkeys, Mice, Pigs, and Rats

For Immediate Release:
May 4, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – After hearing from PETA, a Fortune 500 company and an Austrian government agency are backing away from supporting tests on animals in favor of modern, non-animal research. Ball Corporation has dropped its entire support as a “Platinum Partner” of the Red Bull–backed Wings for Life charity, which funds deadly spinal cord injury experiments on animals—a move that follows the company’s adoption of a new policy against animal testing after discussions with PETA. Also after talks with PETA, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior—a current partner of Wings for Life—confirmed that it will “reassess further funds of starting fees for next year’s Wings for Life Run,” since the agency “does not necessarily … support every research method performed, such as animal testing.”

Published papers from the last two years alone show that experimenters who received funding from Wings for Life have injured and killed more than 4,700 animals in tests not required by law.

They inserted electrodes into a monkey’s muscles, forced her to perform stress-inducing behavioral tasks, cut open her spine, inserted electrodes into her spinal cord, and electrocuted her nerves. They inserted tubes into pigs’ arteries and veins, cut open their spines, inserted sensor probes, dropped a weight on their exposed spinal cords to create crush injuries, added more weight to their spinal cords over several hours, and injected them with drugs. They also bred genetically modified mice, repeatedly force-fed them a drug, cut open their spines, crushed and compressed their exposed spinal cords, and partially paralyzed them and killed them. Earlier this year, PETA urged Wings for Life and its partners to end their support of animal tests. This follows the group’s earlier outreach to Red Bull in 2018 urging the company to disavow experiments on animals funded by Wings for Life.

“Electrocuting a monkey, paralyzing mice, and crushing pigs in failed attempts to study human spinal cord injuries is like drinking a Red Bull to help you sleep,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “There are better ways to conduct spinal cord research, and PETA is calling on Wings for Life to fund more advanced studies that might actually help humans.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—notes that Wings for Life’s animal experiments actually paralyze progress because of the physiological differences between species. The only drug for spinal cord injuries that’s currently available has been tested on numerous animals with drastically varying results. The National Institutes of Health admits that 95% of new drugs that test safe and effective in animal tests fail in human clinical trials.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. The group’s letters to Wings for Life and its partners are available upon request. For more information, visit PETA.org or click here.

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