PETA Urges Inspector General to Investigate Botched NIH-Funded Animal Experiments at The Jackson Laboratory

For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bar Harbor, Maine

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 violations of the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy) at The Jackson Laboratory 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 Jackson Laboratory 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.”

A whistleblower complaint to PETA described various instances of animal suffering and death at the Jackson Laboratory due to noncompliance with the PHS Policy. In response, PETA filed a complaint with OLAW detailing incidents in which staff forcibly tore the tips off the tails of mice; recklessly handled mice by grabbing them by the scruff, tossing them into the air, and trying to catch them, resulting in a mouse collapsing; and allowed cages to become flooded with water, causing mice to drown. But rather than ensuring a thorough investigation that would prevent future incidents that compromise animals’ welfare, OLAW dismissed the case.

Despite this, NIH has lavished The Jackson Laboratory with $167,174,577 in federal taxpayer money since 2022.

OLAW has also failed in its oversight of several other institutions—including the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California–Los Angeles, the University of Pittsburgh, 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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