PETA Uncovers Documents Revealing Drowned Mice, Birds Starved in UMass Labs

For Immediate Release:
July 15, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Amherst, Mass. – After obtaining federal reports revealing widespread animal welfare violations in University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass) laboratories and internal documents betraying university officials’ unwillingness to modernize its research program, PETA is turning to the school’s Board of Trustees. In a letter sent today, PETA urged the trustees to direct UMass to resume discussions with the group about modernizing its research program and implementing animal-free test methods.

The federal reports, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Institutes of Health, document violations of federal animal welfare guidelines: Mice have drowned, birds have starved to death, and zebrafishes have died from overheating. In one incident, experimenters failed to give necessary pain relief to several hundred mice who had just undergone surgery. And experimenters neglected to offer treatment for hamsters who were deliberately bred to have early heart failure—leaving some so weak that they couldn’t reach food or water.

“UMass has an appalling track record of animal care, and this further compromises its already shoddy experiments,” says PETA Senior Director Kathy Guillermo. “PETA urges the trustees to step in and compel the administration to modernize—and our scientists stand ready to help.”

PETA has been contacted by numerous UMass alumni and donors concerned about the university’s treatment of primates in its laboratories. (See video footage here.) Yet internal correspondence among school officials obtained by PETA suggests that the university never intended to make any of the improvements recommended by PETA scientists and met only because its donors were concerned

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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 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