Mass killing of lab animals during pandemic calls necessity of animal models into question
‘Think about the animals you actually need,’ is the message research laboratories across North America have been receiving in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent shuttering of universities. With most studies quickly coming to a halt, and most animal care staff no longer working, university labs have been reportedly killing off those animals suddenly deemed expendable. While these mass killings once again showcase the true position of animals within scientific research—as mere disposable objects—perhaps more importantly, they also further call into question the actual necessity of animal models to begin with.
Animal rights organization PETA was the first to bring attention to the “killing of countless animals who were slated to be used in crude and worthless experiments in university laboratories,” in a blog posted earlier this month. PETA claims that Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, the University of California–Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Michigan “are among the institutions calling on faculty to work on ‘reducing population numbers’ of animals in laboratories.”