For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Milwaukee – PETA filed a complaint with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today after obtaining public records showing that eight universities—including the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee—killed animals deemed nonessential to experiments during the COVID-19 pandemic. PETA is urging the agency to investigate and stop wasting taxpayer money on testing that’s considered expendable.
Records obtained by PETA show that according to UW-Milwaukee’s “Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Operations Planning Report” dated June 14, 2020, campus operations, including research, shifted to remote work. Documents obtained by PETA confirmed that at least 65 animals were euthanized due to COVID-19 restrictions for UW-Milwaukee lab personnel.
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 as having euthanized 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 Georgia, 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.