Pitt Experimenter Uses Government Funds for Mouse Study Known to Be Worthless

PETA Asks University Chancellor for an Immediate End to Painful Experiments Whose Results Can't Be Applied to Humans

For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2017

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Pittsburgh – On the heels of a five-month PETA eyewitness investigation and an ongoing federal investigation into oversight issues at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), PETA sent a letter this morning calling on Chancellor Patrick Gallagher to end Pitt’s sepsis experiments on mice immediately. PETA’s request cites a 2013 study documenting the irrelevance of data from mice to human sepsis, burns, and trauma.

In its letter, PETA points out that Pitt experimenter Rajesh Aneja has received $1.4 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to carry out sepsis experiments on mice, even though it is well established in the scientific literature that the results of such experiments aren’t applicable to humans. During its investigation, PETA also found that he deviated from the approved experimental protocol, which is a violation of both Pitt and NIH policies.

In Aneja’s experiments, mice’s intestines are punctured so that fecal matter and accompanying bacteria will leak into their abdomens, producing sepsis—a life-threatening reaction to severe infection. During the investigation, many mice were found dead in their cages, and many more had to be euthanized, prompting a senior clinical veterinarian at Pitt to comment that mice were “falling over dead.” At one point, mice were given only water laced with a powdered antibiotic, which they could not or would not drink. Many died of dehydration, and the bodies of some were cannibalized by their cagemates.

“Pitt’s terrible waste of public funds and animal lives—on top of the apparent violations—requires the chancellor’s immediate attention,” says PETA’s Dr. Alka Chandna. “These cruel, useless experiments must be ended now and the funds promptly returned to NIH.”

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