PETA Urges Inspector General to Investigate Botched NIH-Funded Animal Experiments at Pitt

For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


PETA is calling for an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General now that the federal agency charged with policing animal experimentation facilities has failed to adequately address a string of alarming animal welfare violations—including the deaths of mice in laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and repeated incidents of noncompliance at several other institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In a letter sent today, PETA lays out the case for an investigation by the HHS inspector general due to the failure of NIH, an agency under the HHS umbrella, to take meaningful action against the institutions that NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) has failed to investigate properly.

“The failure of NIH to take action for critical violations of federal animal welfare policy is deeply concerning and allows institutions like the University of Pittsburgh to continue endangering animals in laboratories with impunity and at taxpayers’ expense,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on the inspector general to investigate these serious matters along with the disturbing pattern of cruelty to animals at various institutions and to take meaningful corrective action.”

PETA obtained federal case reports that document more than 30 separate incidents at Pitt between January 2020 and May 2022 in which mice endured miserable deaths because they had no food or water. In one incident, inspectors discovered eight mice confined to three cages without access to food. Seven of them were dead, and the eighth mouse was in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized. In all these incidents, OLAW accepted the inadequate remedial actions taken by the university, which enabled additional cases of neglect so extreme that animals died from starvation and dehydration—further demonstrating that OLAW has completely failed to deter repeated incidents of callous negligence.

Despite this, NIH has lavished Pitt with $1,419,942,028 in federal taxpayer money since 2022.

OLAW has also failed in its oversight of several other institutions—including Cleveland Clinic, The Jackson Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California–Los Angeles, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the Washington and Wisconsin national primate research centers—as outlined in PETA’s letter to the HHS Office of Inspector General.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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