PETA Uncovers Starving Mice, Dehydration Deaths in Brown University Laboratories

President Paxson Must Address Animal Welfare Violations, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
November 17, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Providence, R.I.

Amid stately Ivy League buildings and regal landscaping, mice in Brown University’s laboratories were kept hungry and thirsty, fatally overdosed on hydrochloric acid, and left alone on an operating table following an injection of expired drugs. After uncovering these incidents and others—a whopping 11 violations of federal animal welfare guidelines in reports dated from October 2021 to June 2022—PETA sent a letter to Brown University President Christina H. Paxson calling on her to prohibit offenders, including grant-holding professors, from having contact with animals.

Among Brown’s laundry list of animal welfare violations were the following.

  • Food and water deprivation: On five separate occasions, animals died or were euthanized due to dehydration or starvation. A mouse and her babies were found dead in a cage after workers failed to provide them with food or water, and a mouse died after a worker failed to notice that his tail had become trapped in a cage lid, making him unable to access water.
  • Overdoses and expired drugs: On separate occasions, experimenters administered an expired euthanasia solution, an unapproved overdose of hydrochloric acid, and the wrong dose of an opioid drug to animals.
  • Surgical sloppiness: A pair of rats died while under anesthesia, two rats awoke during surgery while experimenters were suturing their skin closed, and experimenters abandoned a rat in the middle of surgery. Staff in another laboratory failed to record monitoring data during surgery, violating required procedures.
  • Cage injuries: A mouse sustained a leg injury and was euthanized after a cord became wrapped around part of a cage and dislodged it. Experimenters also failed to notice a bat whose wing had become trapped in the exterior bars of his enclosure, and he died as a result.

“It’s a free-for-all in Brown University laboratories, as staff have killed animals through incompetence and negligence,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “A university that can’t even remember to feed animals and throw out expired medications should never be entrusted with living, feeling beings.”

Last year, Brown received over $140 million in taxpayer funds from the National Institutes of Health, a significant portion of which went to funding the school’s animal experiments, even though studies show that a staggering 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans. PETA is calling on Brown to adopt the Research Modernization Deal, developed by PETA scientists, which provides a strategy for replacing animals with modern, high-tech research methods.

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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