PETA Calls For State Audit of University of Wisconsin–Madison After Apparent COVID-19–Related Animal Killings

University Is Under Investigation for Alleged Animal Welfare Violations Following PETA's Undercover Investigation of Primate Center

For Immediate Release:
September 21, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis. – 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 Wisconsin–Madison 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 university received $456 million in state appropriations, some of which may have gone toward funding animal experiments that were ultimately postponed or canceled. In March, the school informed its experimenters that only “essential research” is allowed and urged them to “[s]uspend plans to order and ship animals” and “consider reduction or cessation of non-critical animal breeding, including agricultural animals and USDA-covered species.” 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.

“The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s experiments on animals were undoubtedly cruel, and apparently not even the school 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.

The USDA and the National Institutes of Health have launched investigations into the university following a six-month PETA undercover investigation showing widespread suffering and neglect at its Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

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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“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