URI Misled Public, Killed ‘Non-Critical’ Animals in Taxpayer-Funded Tests; PETA Demands Audits

For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Kingston, R.I. – In letters sent this morning to the Rhode Island state auditor general, National Institutes of Health’s Division of Program Integrity, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, PETA is calling on officials to audit and recover taxpayer funds that the University of Rhode Island (URI) apparently wasted for experiments in which laboratories euthanized animals deemed non-essential as part of the school’s COVID-19 response.

PETA notes that newly obtained public records confirm that URI deemed animals used in taxpayer-funded experiments “non-critical” and euthanized them per the school’s COVID-19 emergency procedures—which instructed experimenters to ramp down laboratory projects—contrary to the school’s public denial of this practice last year. PETA has also sent a letter to URI urging it to repay all taxpayer funds that were seemingly wasted in this animal purge.

“If the University of Rhode Island can privately deem animals unnecessary and kill them in response to the COVID-19 purge in laboratories, while publicly claiming otherwise, then these animals should not have been bought, bred, trapped, or experimented on in the first place,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on state and federal officials to audit and recover taxpayer funds that were wasted on admittedly non-essential animal experiments at URI and on the school to reinvest in animal-free research that advances human health.”

Based on the public records, URI bred these animals for experiments that induce painful cardiac injuries and include crude surgical procedures, among others.

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