University of Memphis Racks Up Multiple USDA Violations; PETA Files Complaint

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Memphis – Please see the following statement from PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna regarding recent violations of animal welfare regulations at the University of Memphis documented in a damning six-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 carry out 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.

Chaos and apathy reign supreme in the University of Memphis’ animal laboratories, according to a just-posted federal inspection report obtained by PETA. Twelve sensitive voles were baked alive when the HVAC system malfunctioned and no alarm was in place to alert staff. Imprisoned in their cages, the animals could do nothing as the temperature soared and the oxygen level plummeted. In another incident, at least five mole rats in one room died over a period of five weeks from fights stemming from increased stress and agitation—believed to be caused by 24 hours of continuous light in the room and noise from a dehumidifier. One animal suffered with a “missing rear leg” following a fight, several had broken or swollen legs, another had an eye that was swollen shut, and yet others sustained wounds on their head and face from fights. The university was also cited for failing to provide animals with adequate and timely veterinary care. Staff appear to have no understanding of who these animals are and what they need.

The University of Memphis received nearly $3 million in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last year—but such largesse brings with it a legal expectation that the school will comply with minimum animal welfare laws. PETA has filed a complaint with NIH, calling on it to turn off the money spigot to the university. The school should modernize its research program by leaving cruel and 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 newsgathering and reporting, please visit  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