For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Washington – Listen up, Bertagnolli: PETA Honorary Director Bill Maher is at his laser-sharp best in a new video directed at the new director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Monica Bertagnolli, over the agency’s failure to move away from archaic animal experiments at the expense of animals’ lives, solid science, and effective drug development for human patients.
“Has anyone seen an effective vaccine for malaria or tuberculosis? No. How about a treatment to reverse or prevent multiple sclerosis? For that matter, why does cancer still exist?” Maher asks in his message. “Call me crazy, but I think it might be a good idea for the country’s premier health agency to act on what the science has shown: Hurting and killing animals in pointless tests is a colossal failure.”
Maher singles out just a few of the flawed experiments backed by NIH with nearly half its hugely bloated budget—about $19 billion annually. These include “addicting dogs to opioids, feeding alcohol to mice, and causing strokes in monkeys” as well as conducting the debunked forced swim test, in which mice are dropped into beakers of water, as Maher scathingly says, “to help you get over being depressed.” Also earning Maher’s ire is Margaret Livingstone, the notorious NIH-funded Harvard University experimenter, who, he notes, was exposed for having “taken baby monkeys from their mothers and sewn their eyes shut.”
Disregarding studies showing that 95% of all human clinical trials for new medications fail despite the drugs testing safe and effective in animals first, NIH currently experiments on hundreds of thousands of animals in its own laboratories while also funding animal studies at universities across the country and around the world—mostly with zero oversight, leading to well-documented fraud—all at taxpayers’ expense.
And that’s the biggest failure in Maher’s book: As experimenters are wasting time and resources on curiosity-driven studies, high-tech research methods are “starving for money because NIH would rather cut open the skulls of monkeys like medieval barbers.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.