PETA Calls for State Audit of University of Virginia, Virginia Tech After COVID-19–Related Animal Killings

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

For Immediate Release:
September 16, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Richmond, Va. – Today, PETA sent a letter to the state auditor urging an audit of the use of public money, personnel, property, equipment, and space by the University of Virginia (UVA) and Virginia Tech for animal experiments deemed non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. This apparently led to the euthanasia of animals in the school’s laboratories.

In its letter, PETA notes that in the last fiscal year, the universities received $441 million in state appropriations, some of which may have gone toward funding animal experiments that were ultimately postponed or canceled. In March, UVA instructed its experimenters to label the cages of those animals who are “critical to maintain,” and it warned them that the “strains that can be replaced … will be euthanized.” Virginia Tech urged its experimenters to “have contingency plans in place” that “include provisions for terminating studies and euthanizing animals.” These directives likely led to the killing of hundreds or more animals the school deemed extraneous. PETA questions why state funds were wasted on experiments considered non-essential.

“These universities’ experiments on animals were undoubtedly cruel, and apparently not even they 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 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—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 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