For Immediate Release:
October 13, 2022
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Houston – Please see the following statement from PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna regarding recent violations of animal welfare regulations at the University of Houston documented in a damning five-page inspection report filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Among other violations, the school was cited for failures of its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to fulfil its legally mandated responsibilities. The USDA considers such failures to be grave, as they represent a breakdown of the system of oversight governing the use of animals in experimentation.
Monkey experimenters at the University of Houston should be fired immediately. According to a federal inspection report that PETA just obtained, an experimenter botched surgeries in which portions of monkeys’ skulls were removed and instrumentation implanted. The monkeys had to “undergo multiple repair procedures and endure surgical procedures which lasted much longer than normal.” The experimenter failed to use a drill guide when drilling into monkeys’ skulls and consequently penetrated the dura—the brain’s protective covering—of two monkeys. One of them had to be euthanized. The experimenter’s failure to comply with veterinary instructions also caused monkeys to develop infections in the area where hardware had been implanted into their brains.
Laboratory personnel also reused needles and syringes during brain surgeries and failed to sterilize probes that were then implanted in the monkeys’ brains. As a result, three monkeys experienced brain abscesses—pus-filled swelling in the brain—and symptoms indicating damage to the central nervous system. Such symptoms generally include weakness, paralysis, convulsions, or seizures. Two of these monkeys had to be euthanized.
PETA has filed a complaint with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), calling on it to turn off the money spigot to the University of Houston. The school received more than $34 million in taxpayer money from NIH last year—but such largesse brings with it the legal expectation of compliance with the minimal protections of animal welfare laws. The school should modernize its research program by leaving cruel, archaic experiments on animals behind and using only sophisticated, human-relevant research methods instead.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.