OHSU Killed ‘Noncritical’ Animals in Taxpayer-Funded Tests, Prompting PETA Call for Waste Audits

For Immediate Release:
February 17, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Portland, Ore. In letters sent this morning to several National Institutes of Health (NIH) agencies, the NIH Office of Management Assessment, and the Oregon state auditor, PETA calls on officials to audit the use of and recover at least $1,610,485 in wasted taxpayer funds that Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) used for experiments in which laboratories euthanized at least 205 animals deemed non-essential as part of the school’s COVID-19 response.

PETA notes that documents recently obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests confirm that OHSU deemed animals used in taxpayer-funded experiments non-essential and euthanized them as the university made the transition to “modified operations” on March 23, 2020. The group has also sent a letter to the school urging it to reimburse all taxpayer funds wasted in this animal purge.

“If OHSU can deem animals unnecessary and kill them in response to the COVID-19 purge in laboratories, they should not have been bought, bred, trapped, or experimented on in the first place,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA calls on state and federal officials to audit the use of and recover taxpayer funds wasted on admittedly non-essential animal experiments at OHSU and urges NIH to reinvest in animal-free research that advances human health.”

Based on the FOIA records that PETA obtained about these animals, experimenters proposed to induce genetic mutations in mice that cause brain developmental defects, purportedly to study autism—which does not affect these animals—and then force the newly weakened pups to balance on a spinning rod and endure other stressful tests. Additional experiments included injecting mice with toxins to induce liver cancer and infecting mice with parasites and drugs, before they were euthanized per OHSU’s COVID-19 response protocol.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. PETA’s letters to state, federal, and university officials are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind