For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Morgantown, W.V. – PETA has obtained records showing that WVU’s Office of Lab Animal Resources directed experimenters in an e-mail on March 17, 2020, to “please assess your animal colonies and remove any extra animals” as “labs are shutting down.” Other university documents state that once “available space or personnel become a limited resource,” unweaned animals “determined not to be critical” shall be euthanized, along with newborn animals less than 5 days old. WVU records also show that two cages of mice were chosen for euthanasia from experimenter Brock Lindsey’s laboratory, while another experimenter, F. Heath Damron, signed an “Elective Euthanasia” form to eliminate an additional six to eight cages of mice.
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 COVID-19 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 the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
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.