PETA to Rhode Island 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 8, 2020

Contact:
Amanda Tumbleson 202-483-7382

Kingston, R.I. – Spiking COVID-19 cases are compromising Rhode Island’s reopening plan, and PETA is calling on the governor and the Rhode Island 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 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 Rhode Island 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:

  • Brown University urged its experimenters to start “ramping down on-campus research activities” and to be prepared for the restriction of “non-critical” research.
  • The University of Rhode Island (URI) informed its experimenters that “[a]ll non-essential animal research … needs to be drawn down and halted” and said that for long-term studies, “preparations should be made to reduce animal counts to minimal needed to complete study goals.”

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 Rhode Island 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 URI for animal tests deemed non-essential, noting that the university received nearly $80 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