PETA Study Exposes the University of Minnesota as a Top Violator of Federal Animal Welfare Law

For Immediate Release:
September 5, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


The University of Minnesota is one of the five worst violators of federal animal welfare guidelines among schools with taxpayer-funded laboratories, according to a new study by PETA scientists presented at the 12th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, in Niagara Falls, Canada.

The study’s authors used federal reports to examine the 25 leading recipients of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—totaling over $9.5 billion—and documented 632 animal welfare violations in just a 41-month period. The University of Minnesota is responsible for 48 of these violations, for incidents that include one in which a monkey sustained burns to their lower abdomen and back after a heating device was used during surgery but was not adequately monitored. A total of 12 mice confined to three cages were found to be without food. One of them was dead, and three others required medical attention for dehydration, weight loss, and lethargy. A rat being used in a food-restriction experiment was found dead after the approved “humane” endpoints had been exceeded, meaning that the animal experienced pain and distress beyond what was permitted. Rats were required to be euthanized if they dropped below 90% of their nonfasting weight and did not regain adequate weight after five days, but this one had fallen below the target weight for eight days. The school received $432,901,452 from NIH in 2022.

Under the Health Research Extension Act of 1985, institutions that receive funding from NIH must comply with federal animal welfare guidelines in their treatment of vertebrate animals.

“The University of Minnesota’s failure to comply with the bare minimum of federal animal welfare guidelines illustrates the extent to which animals suffer in its labs,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is calling on the school to modernize with more effective, non-animal research methods and to stop flouting the law while gobbling up hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.”

The other top violators are the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Washington for incidents in which animals endured agonizing pain, injury, and death due to neglect, incompetence, and disregard.

At the 12th World Congress—the premier conference for scientists set on reducing and replacing flawed and archaic animal studies—PETA also provided practical roadmaps for ushering in 100% animal-free science and education with information on PETA scientists’ Research Modernization Deal.

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

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