Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases, Group Slams Waste of Animals’ Lives, Taxpayer Money and Risk to Public Health
For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Salt Lake City – Spiking COVID-19 cases are compromising Utah’s reopening plan, and PETA is calling on the governor and the Utah 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, Utah State University’s (USU) Laboratory Animal Research Center issued guidance deeming many of its experiments—and the animals used in them—extraneous, which resulted in the apparent euthanasia of numerous animals in its laboratories. USU issued an “Epidemic Response Plan” that included actions from the “cessation of non-critical animal breeding” to the “[t]argeted euthanasia of non-critical rats and mice” and the “[e]uthanasia of all animals.”
PETA questions why animals deemed by the university 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 Utah 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 USU for animal tests deemed non-essential, noting that the university received nearly $220 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 Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.