PETA Statement on Plan to Kill Nearly 500,000 Sharks for COVID-19 Vaccine

For Immediate Release:
October 2, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Science Adviser Dr. Frances Cheng regarding the plan to kill nearly 500,000 sharks for COVID-19 vaccine:

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that exploiting animals got us into this mess—and continuing to exploit them isn’t going to get us out of it. Much like shark-finning, “livering” is a profit-driven business that will reportedly net and kill nearly half a million sharks over the coming years so that their livers can be cut out to obtain squalene for use by certain pharmaceutical companies in creating COVID-19 vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans began in other animals. Cutting out the body parts of sharks for use in vaccines is not only cruel to animals and dangerously irresponsible from the standpoint of human health but also unnecessary, since squalene can readily be derived from plants and many of the candidate COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain it.

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

For Media: Contact PETA's
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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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