PETA Files NIH Complaint Against Virginia Tech After Baby Pig Starves to Death

For Immediate Release:
September 19, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Blacksburg, Va.

Please see the following statement from PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna regarding citations posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) for its violations of federal animal welfare regulations. One of the violations is categorized as “critical,” the most severe category, while the other is a “repeat” violation—suggesting chronic problems in the school’s laboratories.

Virginia Tech should not be allowed to experiment on animals. It’s apparently unwilling or incapable of complying with even the most basic federal animal welfare regulations—including feeding the animals it exploits. According to a just-released federal inspection report obtained by PETA, a 6-day-old piglet “died from starvation and emaciation” after Virginia Tech employees permitted her to go without food for nearly a week. The piglet had been removed from her mother shortly after birth for an experiment, but the facility provided supplemental milk “only occasionally.” According to the report, on Day 4, the piglet was “sitting in the corner, quiet and with [her] head hanging down.” Even so, no steps were taken to feed her, and on Day 6, she was found dead.

The inspection report also documents that a Virginia Tech experimenter injected a drug into the abdomens of hamsters without approval from the animal experimentation oversight committee, as required.

Virginia Tech received more than $44 million in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2021, and approximately half of that is estimated to have funded experiments on animals. But such largesse brings with it a legal expectation that the school will comply with minimum animal welfare laws. PETA has filed a complaint with NIH calling on it to turn off the money spigot to the university, which should modernize its research program by leaving cruel and archaic experiments on animals behind and using only sophisticated, human-relevant research methods instead.

For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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