PETA to Ohio Governor and Department of 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:
December 7, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Cincinnati – Spiking COVID-19 cases are compromising Ohio’s reopening plan, and PETA is calling on the governor and the Ohio Department of Health to cut cruel animal experiments statewide—starting with tests on animals, many of 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 Ohio issued guidance deeming many of its experiments—and the animals used in them—extraneous, which resulted in the apparent euthanasia of numerous animals in their laboratories, including the following:

  • Ohio State University (OSU) informed its experimenters that “[o]nly critical research that needs to be done in the lab should be being conducted on campus at this time” and instructed its University Laboratory Animal Resources staff to “euthanize animals that they identify meet [Early Removal Criteria].”
  • The University of Cincinnati (UC) informed its experimenters that “only approved Critical [sic] research activities” are allowed and urged them to “prioritize ongoing essential research,” “[c]onsider delaying new projects and delaying acquisition of new animal subjects,” and “[r]educe rodent breeding to only numbers required to maintain lines.”

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 Ohio 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 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 OSU and UC for animal tests deemed non-essential, noting that the universities received nearly $692 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 PETA.org, click here, or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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