PETA Demands That Feds Investigate Harvard, Mass. General Hospital for Killing Animals Deemed Extraneous

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA called on National Institutes of Health (NIH) Division of Program Integrity Director Deborah Kearse to investigate Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General) and Harvard University, which in FY2020 received $557,918,698 and $88,586,455, respectively, in funding from NIH—part of which may have supported animal testing—for apparently wasting taxpayer funds on tests on animals whom experimenters deemed extraneous and killed.

The group’s request follows Mass General’s reported reduction of animal populations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which involved the killing of over 50% of the animal populations at the Mass General Brigham clinical site and nearly 20% at the preclinical site. At Harvard, the closure of non-essential operations on campus in response to the pandemic led some experimenters to kill half of their “research mice” and a faculty member reportedly to kill “nearly half of her lab’s approximately 1000 mice.”

These actions mirror decisions by other facilities across the country, such as that by Rutgers University, which reportedly killed 23,000 mice slated to be used in experiments deemed “non-essential” while also receiving $1.15 million in state taxpayer funds as compensation for destroying the animals.

“If Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, and other facilities can deem tests noncritical, the animals shouldn’t have been there in the first place and taxpayers shouldn’t have footed the bill,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on NIH to launch an investigation and recover taxpayer funds wasted on admittedly non-essential animal experiments.”

PETA notes that calling animals “unnecessary,” “non-essential,” “noncritical,” or “extraneous” or using other similar terminology to describe them should raise significant red flags—particularly given the widespread euthanasia of such animals—regarding why such experiments were approved and funded in the first place.

PETA’s letter is available upon request. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on the group’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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