Provocative Exhibit to Expose Violent History of Animal Experiments, Including at Duke University

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Durham, N.C.

As part of a national tour, PETA is erecting a large exhibit titled “Without Consent” that explores the troubled history of experiments on nonconsenting animals and challenges institutions—including Duke University—to rethink this exploitative, expensive, cruel, and archaic concept of science. On display for five days, 24 panels will bear concise descriptions and photographs of nearly 200 animal experiments conducted at U.S. institutions from the 1920s through today. An interactive virtual exhibit is also available here.

When:    Wednesday, May 25, 12 noon

Where:    CCB Plaza, at the intersection of E. Chapel Hill and Corcoran streets, Durham

“‘Without Consent’ tells the true stories of animals harmed and killed in experiments that they did not and could not consent to,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “Humans are only one animal species among many, and having the power to exploit the others does not give us the right to do so.”

The 110 million animals killed every year in U.S. laboratories are individuals who experience pain and fear—yet they’re burned, force-fed chemicals, sickened with disease, and robbed of their babies. In recent tests, Duke experimenters drained adult pigs of blood and then transfused it into piglets. The experimenters surgically implanted tubes into the jugular vein, carotid arteries, and bladders of the piglets, causing hemorrhaging. They also inserted probes into the piglets’ rectums and measured vital signs every 15 minutes. The piglets became anemic, and fluid accumulated in their abdomens. The animals were killed, and their organs were dissected.

Other Duke experimenters pushed a thick plastic tube down the throats of mice to force-feed them ethanol five times over five days—damaging their pancreas and lungs. The mice who survived were decapitated, and their blood and organs were removed.

Because 95% of all new drugs that test safe and effective in animal studies go on to fail or cause harm in human clinical trials, PETA is calling on the National Institutes of Health—which gave Duke more than $731 million in taxpayer funds in 2021—to phase out the use of animals in experiments and adopt the group’s Research Modernization Deal.

“Without Consent” uses a historical perspective to point out that beginning in medieval times, experiments were conducted on vulnerable humans—including orphans in tuberculosis and psychological experiments, immigrant women in gynecological surgeries, soldiers in LSD and poison gas tests, and impoverished Black men in syphilis experiments. The exhibit illustrates that just as society now understands that these experiments were wrong, we need to let a similar moral awakening guide our conduct today by extending consideration to other nonconsenting sentient beings who suffer and die in experiments—from floor-cleaner product tests to mother-infant separation studies.

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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