U.S. Secretary of the Navy Anchors Military Branch to Cruel and Pointless Tests: PETA Statement

For Immediate Release:
June 11, 2024

Brandi Pharris 202-483-7382


Please see the following statement from PETA Vice President Shalin Gala regarding the refusal by Carlos Del Toro, secretary of the U.S. Navy, to end the service’s use of animals in painful decompression sickness and oxygen toxicity experiments, despite PETA’s urging:

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro is setting the military branch adrift with an unfathomable decision to continue bankrolling experiments that put animals through excruciating pain before their gruesome deaths and fail to advance the health of sailors.

In a letter from May 23, he brushed off scientific and ethical concerns from PETA and more than 100 U.S. Navy veterans in an April 9 complaint about the military branch’s decompression sickness and oxygen toxicity experiments. It’s shameful that the Navy refuses to commit to sound science by ending deadly experiments that involve inducing seizures in animals without pain relief and implanting recording devices in their abdomens with wires placed on their backs and necks and electrodes fixed to their skulls. Del Toro should deep-six these useless tests and stop wasting millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund violence against animals.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

Posada-Quintero H.F., Landon C.S., Stavitzski N.M., Dean J.B., and Chon K.H. “Seizures Caused by Exposure to Hyperbaric Oxygen in Rats Can Be Predicted by Early Changes in Electrodermal Activity,” Frontiers in Physiology 2021;12:767386. CC BY

In this distressing test, University of South Florida experimenter Jay Dean—who received more than $1 million from the U.S. Navy for animal testing through December 2025—inserted electrodes into sensitive rats and subjected them to the harrowing conditions of a hyperbaric chamber, even though rats are not biologically accurate stand-ins for humans.

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