PETA to Florida Department of Health: Shut Down Animal Labs

Amid a Rising Number of COVID-19 Cases, Group Slams Waste of Animals' Lives and Taxpayer Money Along With Risk to Public Health

For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Tallahassee, Fla. – A spike in COVID-19 cases is compromising Florida’s plan to reopen, and PETA is calling on the Florida Department of Health to cut cruel animal experiments statewide—starting with tests on animals whom institutions deemed to be non-essential in response to the pandemic—and protect human health by not having staff conduct worthless experiments in laboratories.

In its letter, PETA points out that during the initial COVID-19 shutdown, universities in Florida 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:

  • Florida State University (FSU) informed its experimenters that “all nonessential research occurring in a space owned or secured by FSU must be ramped down.”
  • The University of Florida (UF) informed its experimenters that “only mission-critical, essential research should continue” and urged them to “consider reduction of animal census, including agricultural animals and USDA-covered species.”

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 Florida shuts down again, more animals may be euthanized, wasting taxpayer 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 of it 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 FSU and UF for animal tests deemed non-essential, noting that the universities received nearly $1.28 billion 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 PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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“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