For Immediate Release:
July 21, 2022
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Amherst, Mass. – Please see the following statement from PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) newly released citations of the University of Massachusetts–Amherst for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including failures of the school’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to carry out its legally mandated responsibilities. The USDA considers such failures to be grave, as they represent a breakdown of the system of oversight governing the use of animals in experimentation.
The University of Massachusetts–Amherst’s (UMass) shoddy operations and carelessness amount to animal abuse and must not be allowed to continue. According to a just-posted federal inspection report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the university after its experimenters went rogue and kept young hamsters in total darkness for a longer duration than had been approved. Earlier this month, PETA filed a complaint with the USDA after learning that infant hamsters in UMass’ laboratories were held in complete, constant darkness for 200 days. The university was also cited for the failure of its animal experimentation oversight body to properly review a proposed experimental protocol involving separating infant animals from their mothers and for confining a mother hamster and her infants to a cage that was too small—and that had been inadequately cleaned, as inspectors found 3 inches of “solid and liquid excreta” in the enclosure.
These violations are just the latest at UMass: Mice have drowned, birds have starved to death, zebrafish have died from overheating, and several hundred mice who had just undergone surgery were denied pain relief. All these problems are in addition to the university’s use of fragile marmosets in deadly, pointless experiments on menopause—a condition these tiny monkeys don’t even experience. UMass has also been cited by the USDA for its mistreatment of marmosets in these experiments, including the death of one after he was severely burned while recovering from surgery.
UMass must shut down its animal laboratories, beginning with its marmoset laboratory, and redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methods that will actually help humans. We urge officials there to adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Deal.