PETA to North Carolina Governor and Dept. of Health and Human Services: 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:
December 7, 2020

Amanda Tumbleson 202-483-7382

Raleigh, N.C.

Spiking COVID-19 cases are compromising North Carolina’s reopening plan, and PETA is calling on the governor and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 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 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 North Carolina issued guidance deeming many of their experiments—and the animals used in them—to be extraneous, which resulted in the apparent euthanasia of numerous animals in their laboratories, including the following:

  • Duke University issued a “research curtailment directive” stating that only experiments defined as “[e]ssential” are allowed.
  • The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill informed its experimenters that “[a]ny lab-based research or core activity that is not approved as ‘critical research activity’ is expected to be ramped down, curtailed, suspended, or delayed as soon as possible and no later than Wednesday, March 25” and urged them to “indicate which of their rodent cages are priority and are critical to maintain” by “writing ‘PRIORITY’ in red ink on the DCM RFID card.”

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. In addition, if animal testing resumes and North Carolina 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 UNC–Chapel Hill for animal tests deemed non-essential, noting that the university received nearly $543 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, click here, or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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