PETA Calls For State Audit of ASU, UArizona After COVID-19–Related Animal Killings for ‘Non-Essential’ Experiments

Following Euthanasia of Animals as Part of Schools' COVID-19 Response Plans, Group Questions Why Extraneous Experiments Were Ever Conducted or Funded by Taxpayers

For Immediate Release:
September 2, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Phoenix – Today, PETA sent a letter to the state auditor urging an audit of the use of public money, personnel, property, equipment, and space by Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Arizona (UArizona) for animal experiments deemed non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. This apparently led to the euthanasia of animals in the universities’ laboratories.

In its letter, PETA notes that in the last fiscal year, the universities received nearly $700 million in state appropriations, some of which may have gone toward funding animal experiments that were ultimately postponed or canceled. In March, ASU urged its staff not to “begin any additional animal experiments” and to consider suspending experiments. And UArizona informed its deans, associate deans for research, directors, and department heads that its “de facto position” is that all research performed at its facilities “is considered non-essential” and expected some of its staff to “completely ramp down” their laboratories. These directives likely led to the killing of hundreds or more animals the schools deemed extraneous. PETA questions why state funds were wasted on experiments considered non-essential.

“The experiments on animals carried out at ASU and UArizona were undoubtedly cruel, and apparently not even the schools can justify them,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on state officials to follow the money and prevent taxpayer waste—and animal suffering—in laboratories that should never have received funding in the first place.”

Numerous published studies have shown that animal experimentation wastes resources and lives, as more than 90% of highly promising results from basic scientific research—much of it involving animal experimentation—fails to lead to treatments for humans. (Please read under “Lack of benefit for humans” here.) In addition, 95% of new medications that are found to be safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials..

PETA’s letter to Arizona Auditor General Lindsey Perry is available upon request. The group—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or click here.

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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