For Immediate Release:
August 7, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Logan, Utah – PETA is urging Utah State University (USU) to stop locking rats inside noisy metal boxes, depriving them of water, and blasting them with random bursts of bright light during the undergraduate psychology course PSY 3400 and instead switch to superior, non-animal teaching methods.
The experiments—which had used pigeons before the instructor switched to rats—last nearly an hour and attempt to train the animals to push a lever to receive food pellets. Video footage of the experiments is available here.
“USU deserves a failing grade for tormenting vulnerable animals in a useless effort to understand human psychology,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is urging the university to replace these cruel experiments with modern simulation programs that leave animals in peace.”
In letters sent to USU President Noelle E. Cockett in July 2023 and September 2022, PETA requested that the school stop using animals for experiments and offered to help with the transition to more effective, animal-free educational tools, but the university refused—even though it had previously used an “online rat simulator.”
Rats are highly social animals who become emotionally attached to each other and form bonds with their human guardians. When playfully tickled, they make chirping sounds strikingly similar to human laughter. Rats also express empathy when another rat is in distress and put themselves in harm’s way rather than allow another sentient being to suffer.
Studies show that most psychology students oppose the use of animals in psychology education and that the majority of psychologists and psychology students believe that live-animal experimentation should not be required in undergraduate courses.
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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.