PETA to California Department of Public Health: Shut Down Animal Labs

Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases, Group Slams Waste of Animals’ Lives, Taxpayer Money and Risk to Public Health

For Immediate Release:
November 25, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Sacramento, Calif.

Spiking COVID-19 cases are compromising California’s reopening plan, and PETA is calling on the California Department of Public Health to cut cruel animal experiments statewide—starting with tests on animals, many of whom institutions deemed in response to the pandemic to be non-essential—and protect human health by having staff not come into laboratories to conduct worthless experiments.

In its letter, PETA points out that during the initial COVID-19 shutdown, universities in California issued guidance deeming many of their experiments—and the animals used in them—extraneous, which resulted in the apparent euthanasia of numerous animals in their laboratories, including the following:

  • Chapman University told experimenters that “no animal research activity should commence during the campus closure.”
  • Stanford University indicated plans to “[r]educe rodent breeding to only numbers required to maintain lines.”
  • The University of Southern California directed experimenters to “suspend certain studies and euthanize animals.”
  • The University of California–Berkeley implemented a plan to “ramp down, curtail, or postpone, animal research experiments.”
  • The University of California–Davis urged its staff to “ramp down all noncritical on-campus research activities.”
  • The University of California–Los Angeles requested that its experimenters “ramp down or terminate research.”
  • The University of California–San Diego urged experimenters to “consider culling non-essential animals.”
  • The University of California–San Francisco informed its staff that “[i]n mouse facilities, breeding should be reduced to the minimum possible; no increases in cage counts will be permitted and all researchers should plan for additional reductions of cage counts in the future.”

PETA questions why animals deemed by the universities to be extraneous are being bought, bred, trapped, or experimented on in the first place and notes that staff conducting these experiments are being put at unnecessary risk as a result of working in close proximity to others. Also, if animal testing resumes and California shuts down again, more animals may be euthanized, wasting tax money that could have funded superior, human-relevant studies.

“This pandemic should be a wake-up call to shift away from experiments on animals and toward a ‘new normal’ of modern, non-animal research methods,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on state officials to learn from the past and keep all animals from suffering in cruel and wasteful tests.”

More than 90% of results from basic scientific research—much involving animal testing—fails to lead to treatments for humans, and 95% of new medications found to be safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.

PETA previously called for an audit of public money, personnel, property, equipment, and space used by the University of California system for animal tests deemed non-essential, noting that the universities received $428 million in state appropriations in the last fiscal year, some of which may have funded such animal experiments.

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 or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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