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

For Immediate Release:
February 22, 2022

Contact:
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Gainesville, Fla. – 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 the University of Florida (UF)—to rethink this exploitative, expensive, cruel, and archaic idea 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, February 23, 12 noon

Where:    The intersection of W. University Avenue and S.W. 13th Street, Gainesville

“‘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.”

Each of the 110 million animals killed every year in U.S. laboratories is an individual who experiences pain and fear—yet they’re burned, force-fed chemicals, sickened with disease, and robbed of their babies. Earlier this year, UF experimenters reported cutting open cats’ chests and necks, removing part of their tracheas, and then injecting capsaicin (the chemical found in hot peppers) into their lower airways—just to study coughing in the animals. The cats were later killed. In 2020, UF experimenters reported cutting open cats’ necks, chests, and skulls; attaching wire electrodes to their muscles and nerves; and injecting chemicals into their brains—while forcing them to inhale high concentrations of carbon dioxide, making them brain-dead, before eventually killing them. UF experimenters also forced rats to inhale tobacco smoke from 72 cigarettes and then induced painful withdrawal symptoms—and in other instances injected viruses into the skulls of mice before decapitating them.

Because 95% of all new drugs that test safe and effective in animal tests fail or cause harm in human clinical trials, PETA is calling on the National Institutes of Health—which gave UF more than $212 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 that moral awakening guide our conduct today and to extend consideration to other nonconsenting 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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind