Shoots, injuries, burns, errors in NIH Animal Laboratories; PETA Says Francis Collins Should Leave


For immediate release:
Jul 26, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Maryland. – National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories violated dozens of animal welfare regulations, resulting in escapes, injuries, burns and death – one animal even caught fire. In a letter sent today, PETA is urging Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to call on National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins to resign.

The 34 violations PETA identified in response to a request for public records cover just 16 months – from March 2020 to June 2021 – and include the following:

  • Numerous animals have died due to equipment malfunction and staff negligence. In one case, the body of a mouse burst into flames after the experimenters applied electrocautery during surgery, despite the accumulation of alcohol fumes. Other deaths include a guinea pig that fell through an opening in a cage, two suffocated hamsters, and a monkey entangled in a chain.
  • On three different occasions, the monkeys escaped from their cages, and in the ensuing struggle, employees were bitten on the thighs, hands and fingers.
  • The experimenters subjected the monkey to two major operations, although only one was approved, and the monkey suffered extensive burns when the experimenter placed a bag of hot gel directly on the animal’s belly.
  • Fifteen monkeys and 142 mice were given expired analgesics after surgery, and 75 mice were not given. any Pain relief after invasive embryo transfer operations.
  • The monkey suffered serious injuries that required extensive surgical treatment when workers did not place it with a compatible cage mate.

“The NIH director should be named Francis ‘Blind Eye’ Collins for refusing to acknowledge and address these serious issues,” says PETA Senior Vice President Katy Guillermo. “He must resign immediately.”

PETA has previously identified abnormalities in NIH laboratories. In total, from January 2018 to February 2020, the agency violated animal welfare rules 41 times. The experimenters and their collaborators were unable to feed the animals that starved to death; deviated from approved protocols, resulting in serious infections in dogs; baked mice to death for not servicing HVAC equipment; and more.

PETA stands against racism, a worldview based on human superiority. The full letter from the Becerre group can be found here. For more information please visit or subscribe to the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

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