For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2023
Kendall Davis 202-483-7382
Big Rapids, Mich. – PETA is calling on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate and act on newly obtained public records showing that eight universities—including Ferris State University—killed animals deemed nonessential to experiments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PETA’s letter also urges NIH to stop wasting taxpayer money on animal experiments. 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.
PETA received records from Ferris State following public records requests showing that animals at the university deemed nonessential and assigned to different experiments were euthanized during modified pandemic operations.
A March 25, 2020, e-mail from Ferris State Animal Care Facility Director Richard Marble states, “I am currently drawing down the last of the colonies .… After today there will be no animals left in the facility.”
An e-mail thread from March 19, 2020, with the subject line “Animal Care Going Forward in Light of Yesterdays [sic] Message,” a Ferris State staff member, whose name is redacted, writes, “I am fine with euthanizing all animals at this point. All of the male rats will be too large and there is no reason to continue to maintain them. Nor the frog or turtle.” That staff member adds, “In terms of my animals, I can always purchase new rats later.”
In an e-mail thread from March 23, 2020, under the subject line “animal care facility essential staff,” a Ferris State staff member, whose name is also redacted, writes, “It is our plan to have all animals euthanized and the facility shut down by the end of the week.”
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.”
In hellish 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.
Other NIH-funded institutions newly identified by PETA for apparently euthanizing animals deemed extraneous to experiments during the pandemic include Montana State University, Penn State, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Tulane University, the University of Georgia, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and West Virginia University.
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.