PETA Exposé Proves Cleveland Clinic Should Focus on COVID-19, Stop Cruel Animal Experiments

Group to Unveil Findings of Mistreatment, Neglect at Virtual News Conference, Submit Formal Complaint to the National Institutes of Health

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


Today, as just reported by The Plain Dealer, following a six-month undercover investigation, PETA is releasing video footage and photographs documenting pain and misery for vulnerable animals at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the largest research institutes in the nation. The group is also filing a formal complaint with the National Institutes of Health—from which the clinic received more than $100 million in taxpayer money in 2019—describing violations of minimum animal welfare guidelines at the facility, where inadequate veterinary care, neglect, and disregard for the animals compounded their suffering.

The Cleveland Clinic is working to help Ohio fight the coronavirus with drive-through COVID-19 testing and a free online screening tool. That is exactly the kind of work that it should focus on, instead of torturing animals in cruel experiments that fail to help humans.

A PETA expert will conduct a virtual news conference to reveal details of the case and answer questions about it tomorrow. Attendees are invited to use the electronic chat function on the webpage to submit questions once the presentation has started.

When:    Friday, May 8, 10 a.m. ET


PETA documented the following at the Cleveland Clinic:

  • An experimenter cut into the skulls of mice and inserted glass coverslips to create “cranial windows” in order to see their exposed brains.
  • Mice were bred to be prone to pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the uterus, bladder, or rectal tissue protrudes outside the body. They were denied pain relief and forced to breed repeatedly.
  • Experimenters injected mice with a chemical that resulted in an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, causing them to drag their hind legs, and then cut away their muscles to expose their spinal cords.
  • Mice used in a kidney disease study developed skin growths and lesions that went untreated. One mouse scratched continuously at a growth that covered nearly half her face.

“The Cleveland Clinic received $100 million in public funding, but nearly half of that was squandered on cruel animal experiments that caused extreme pain and suffering—without advancing human health one iota,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA applauds the Cleveland Clinic’s Herculean efforts to assist humans during this pandemic. We’re calling on the National Institutes of Health to stop wasting tax dollars on the archaic, useless torture of animals and instead fund human-relevant, non-animal research.”

Mice at the Cleveland Clinic were kept in cramped, unnatural conditions. Staff left infant mice in extremely crowded cages, and newborns were trampled to death or cannibalized by their severely stressed parents. Some mice were abandoned in buckets for hours without food or water, while others were found in a cage bound for the garbage. An experimenter’s aide left one mouse laboring to breathe for more than an hour before the animal was finally euthanized.

In 2007, PETA revealed that an unauthorized and fatal brain surgery had been performed on a dog at the clinic for a sales demonstration, and in 2008, a whistleblower exposed the death of a dog at the facility who had been allowed to eat a large amount of hay, which obstructed his airway.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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