Not Even an Aspirin: PETA Urges NIH to Stop Funding Pain


For Immediate Release:
April 3, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – In a letter sent today, PETA calls on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to stop spending taxpayer dollars on experiments that force animals to endure prolonged agony and distress without pain relief.

They’re called “Column E” experiments. Despite the well-documented fact that pain and distress compromise results, the people who perform these experiments have cited “expediency,” “cost reduction,” and the misguided belief that giving pain relief would somehow interfere with the tests as the reasons for conducting them in this manner.

In 2022 alone, 90,310 animals covered under the federal Animal Welfare Act—including cats, dogs, rabbits, and monkeys—were used in Column E experiments.

A laboratory in North Carolina used rabbits to grow ticks for use in other experiments. Experimenters shaved this rabbit’s skin and then secured a plastic dish full of ticks onto her so that the ticks could constantly feed off her blood. Credit: PETA

“All studies on animals are cruel and unethical, but experiments that cause prolonged physical agony without any pain relief must be stopped right now,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA urges NIH to stop funding pain and implement modern, human-relevant research methods instead.”

Column E experiments continue to be performed at universities across the country. University of Utah experimenters cut out a thick portion of skin from two pigs and left them suffering without pain relief for weeks as their wounds healed. University of Alabama–Birmingham experimenters injected a toxin into the backs of six cats to create a hypersensitive area, then forcibly manipulated their spines and recorded their facial expressions to measure pain. University of Michigan experimenters strapped five endangered long-tailed macaques into chairs, preventing them from moving their heads and arms for up to eight hours, and used them in a battery of tests.

In 2021, NIH squandered nearly half its annual budget on experiments on animals—even though 95% of new drugs that test safe and effective on animals fail in human clinical trials and 90% of basic research (most of it involving animals) fails to lead to treatments for humans.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.


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