Mice Scalded to Death at Harvard-Affiliated Hospital Riddled With Animal Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2023

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


PETA is calling on administrators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) to oust violators of federal animal welfare guidelines from its laboratories after three mice were scalded to death when laboratory staff ran their cage through a high-temperature washer used for sterilization. These deaths were just one among many other serious violations.

In a letter sent today to Sunil Eappen, BWH’s president and chief medical officer, PETA demands that BWH revoke violators’ animal experimentation privileges, permanently prohibit their access to all animal laboratories, and implement a strategy for moving away from flawed animal tests and toward modern, animal-free research methods.

PETA obtained federal documentation of 17 separate violations of animal welfare guidelines that occurred in BWH laboratories between June 2021 and September 2022, including the following:

  • Experimenters put frogs on ice during surgery instead of using appropriate methods of anesthesia.
  • Experimenters injected 20 mice in the wrong location, resulting in cuts and swelling. One died.
  • Many animals were repeatedly denied adequate pain relief. Others were denied basic necessities, such as food or water.
  • One mouse was found hunched over in pain with ruffled fur and surrounded by several of her dead babies. The experimenter let her continue suffering.

“There must be repercussions for staff and experimenters who are sloppy, negligent, or cruel,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is demanding that serious, meaningful sanctions be implemented against those who violate the very basic federal protections, which would stem the tide of death at BWH.”

PETA previously called on the Boston Police Department to investigate BWH after uncovering 55 incidents of cruelty to animals there, including denying sheep and mice adequate pain relief and starving several animals to death by failing to feed them.

The hospital is an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, which employs experimenter Margaret Livingstone, notorious for stealing baby monkeys from their mothers and sewing their eyes shut in depraved and fruitless “sensory deprivation” tests.

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 investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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