For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Detroit – Following a campaign by PETA urging the U.S. Army to stop a cruel ferret experiment at Wayne State University, the group has thanked the Army and Pentagon brass for ending the testing six months ahead of schedule.
The test involved bombarding 48 ferrets with radio waves to induce brain injuries in a purported attempt to study whether a directed energy weapon could induce the effects of Havana syndrome in humans. It was scheduled to end on September 29, costing taxpayers $750,000. But the Army canceled its grant to Wayne State and ended the experiments on March 10, public records show, just one day after the release of a Politico exposé highlighting PETA’s opposition to the tests. The records note that “Wayne State has elected to rescind this award and the [U.S. government] has agreed that a collaborative closeout is in the best interest of both parties.” Since the grant was canceled, the university apparently refunded $512,000 of the money on August 30.
PETA’s letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth also urges them to reinstate the ban on weapon-wounding tests on dogs, cats, monkeys, and marine animals, which the Army quietly reversed in 2020, and to ban such experiments on all other species.
“Today, we celebrate that terrified ferrets will no longer be brain damaged, killed, and dissected in this gruesome experiment,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on the military’s top brass to stop allowing cats, dogs, monkeys, marine mammals, and all other animals to be used in crude and pointless weapon-wounding tests and instead switch to animal-free methods that are actually relevant to human health.”
An early closure of the ferret experiments at Wayne State is the latest in a long history of wins for animals that PETA has secured from the military. In 1983, PETA exposed and successfully campaigned to shut down a U.S. Department of Defense “wound lab” in which dogs, goats, and other animals were shot with high-powered weapons in order to inflict injuries, resulting in the first-ever permanent ban on the shooting of dogs and cats in wound labs.
In 2005, the Army issued Regulation 40-33, prohibiting the use of dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, and marine mammals in “[r]esearch conducted for development of biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.” But in 2020, the Army issued a memorandum that reversed its position by permitting the use of these animals “to inflict wounds upon using a weapon” through the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s Policy 84. The agency subsequently denied PETA’s request for public records on these weapon-wounding tests, claiming that they’re “classified … in the interest of national defense and foreign policy.”
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.