PETA to NIH: Recover Taxpayer Funds Wasted by Labs That Kill ‘Unnecessary’ Animals in Pandemic

For Immediate Release:
February 17, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


In letters sent this morning to several National Institutes of Health (NIH) agencies, the NIH Office of Management Assessment, and state auditors in Colorado, Missouri, and Oregon, PETA calls on officials to audit the use of and recover at least $5,461,466 in wasted taxpayer funds that the University of Colorado (CU)–Boulder, the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC), and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) used for experiments involving at least 384 animals whom laboratories later deemed non-essential and killed per the schools’ COVID-19 responses.

PETA notes that documents recently obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests confirm that CU-Boulder, UMKC, and OHSU deemed animals used in taxpayer-funded experiments “unnecessary”—or described them using similar terminology—and euthanized them between March and June 2020 per the schools’ COVID-19 directives that urged staff to ramp down experiments in laboratories. PETA has also sent letters to these schools urging them to reimburse all taxpayer funds wasted in this animal purge.

“If universities can deem animals ‘unnecessary’ and kill them in response to the COVID-19 purge in laboratories, they should not have been bought, bred, trapped, or experimented on in the first place,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA calls on federal and state officials to audit the use of and recover taxpayer funds wasted on admittedly non-essential animal experiments at CU-Boulder, UMKC, and OHSU and urges NIH to reinvest in animal-free research that advances human health.”

PETA has also fired off letters to dozens of institutions—including Cornell University, the University of California–San Diego, and the University of Minnesota—about their euthanasia directives, and FOIA requests for more documentation are pending.

Based on the FOIA records that PETA obtained about the animals deemed non-essential and then killed by these universities, CU-Boulder bred “unnecessary” animals for crude experiments that induce crippling muscle injuries and lethal mutations affecting neural development, UMKC bred non-essential animals for experiments that induce debilitating eye injuries and expose animals to strenuous bone and muscle exertion, and OHSU bred noncritical mice in order to induce genetic brain developmental defects and subject them to stressful motor and behavioral tasks. OHSU experimenters also injected mice with toxins that cause liver cancer and infected them with parasites to test an array of drugs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. PETA’s letters to federal, state, and university officials are available upon request. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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