For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2023
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Seattle – PETA is renewing its call for the University of Washington (UW) to close its animal laboratories following new federal inspection reports that show a continuing, catastrophic failure to meet even the most basic animal protection requirements, including the horrific deaths of mice who baked to death under a heat lamp that staff had forgotten to turn off and improper administration of a drug to a monkey.
PETA filed a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), after obtaining federal reports documenting 22 new animal welfare violations in the 22-month period between July 2021 and May 2023 at laboratories run by the university, which also runs the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC).
The university’s failure to meet federal animal welfare guidelines also included the following:
- Mice starved to death in six separate instances in which staffers failed to feed them.
- Mice suffocated because ventilation to their cage was effectively cut off.
- Staff cut off the tips of mice’s tails without giving them pain relief before or after the procedure.
- Experimenters gave the wrong dose of a drug to 123 mice over a 14-month period and watched as more than normal died.
- An experimenter failed to euthanize a cage of malaria-infected mice, prolonging their suffering.
- An experimenter who moved mouse pups from one cage to another missed one, who was found dead the next day.
Monkeys are also not safe inside the university’s laboratories, according to the reports. Staff gave two monkeys too high a dose of a drug, which landed them at the vet for kidney treatment, and a monkey who was on a water-restricted experiment was denied water for an entire day.
“The ongoing and abject failures of staff in University of Washington laboratories prove that they should not be allowed anywhere near animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the USDA to protect the animals there, prosecute the university, and move to shut down its laboratories for good.”
The school has a long history of flouting laws. In October 2022, a court ordered UW to pay PETA nearly $540,000 in fees and penalties after finding that the school had improperly withheld public records and destroyed photos and videos of monkeys at the WaNPRC. In 2021, PETA exposed 77 violations of animal welfare guidelines, including dozens of mice who died of starvation or dehydration, days-old monkeys who were mutilated and killed by other stressed primates, and rats who were scalded to death. Zoonotic pathogens have infected endangered pig-tailed macaques in UW’s Arizona breeding colony.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.