For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Athens, Ga. – Records obtained by PETA show that UGA’s “University Research Animal Resources (URAR) and Researcher Pandemic Service Reduction Plan” directed experimenters to prepare to “[c]ull animals not needed.” These records were received in response to PETA’s request for experimentation protocols concerning animals euthanized at the school as a result of circumstances related to the pandemic. The records included two NIH-funded studies on mice conducted by UGA experimenter Wendy Watford that were apparently deemed unnecessary. The mice were euthanized—even though UGA Vice President for Research David Lee claimed that no animals who were to be experimented on were killed during the pandemic.
PETA’s letter also questions why NIH would ever fund nonessential studies. It follows PETA’s prior complaints about related killing sprees at 14 other universities. At least 25,000 animals were killed in these schools’ laboratories during this period—representing more than $9 million in NIH waste.
Brown mice crowd on top of each other in a small container. Photo: PETA
“University labs across the country deemed thousands of animals ‘unnecessary’ to their research, which begs the question why any of these animals were bought, bred, and experimented on in the first place,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is urging NIH to investigate this shameful mass killing spree and is calling on universities to adopt superior, animal-free research so that animals’ lives and taxpayers’ dollars are no longer wasted.”
Other NIH-funded institutions newly identified by PETA for euthanizing animals deemed extraneous to experiments during the pandemic include Ferris State University, Montana State University, Penn State, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Tulane University, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and West Virginia University.
In laboratories across the U.S. each year, tens of millions of animals are poisoned, burned, cut into, emotionally traumatized, and infected with diseases while they endure extreme stress and frustration. Studies show that 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans—yet NIH spends nearly half its annual budget on animal studies.
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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.