PETA Uncovers Animals Starved, Frozen, Denied Adequate Pain Relief in UW-Madison’s Laboratories

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

PETA has just uncovered 56 separate reports of violations of federal animal welfare guidelines in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s laboratories. Among other incidents, workers allowed baby mice to starve to death by failing to feed them, failed to provide monkeys with water over a three-day weekend, placed mice who survived a gassing attempt into a freezer, and allowed two macaques to escape and injure themselves and a third monkey.

“The agony of being frozen alive or starved to death is the same whether the victim is a mouse, a monkey, or a man,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is calling on UW-Madison to shut down these laboratories before experimenters’ incompetence and indifference kill one more animal.”

The documents—which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Institutes of Health and span February 2018 to February 2021—also reveal that UW-Madison staff administered a joint treatment to the wrong macaque for 19 days and amputated a marmoset’s broken leg without knowing the cause of the injury. In August 2020, 35 zebrafish died when a laboratory worker turned off the water flow line connected to the tank and forgot to turn it back on. In October 2020, three mice died and a fourth had to be euthanized when they were placed in a sealed chamber and the worker forgot to activate the airflow. Workers failed to give adequate pain relief to a pig and a rhesus macaque who were used in experimental surgeries in September 2020 and January 2021, respectively.

The findings follow a six-month PETA undercover investigation that exposed widespread suffering and neglect at UW’s Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, at which nearly 2,000 monkeys are confined small, barren steel cages in windowless rooms, where they paced endlessly, tore out their own hair, and attacked each other because of severe distress.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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