MEDIA RELEASE: In Defense of Animals & SPEAK Protest Cruel Experiments at University of Arizona for World Week for Animals in Laboratories

MEDIA RELEASE: In Defense of Animals & SPEAK Protest Cruel Experiments at University of Arizona for World Week for Animals in Laboratories

TUCSON, Ariz. (April 26, 2022)In Defense of Animals and Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom (SPEAK) advocated for animal victims of experiments during a protest at the University of Arizona on Thursday, April 21, in honor of World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL). Activists report an ongoing list of offenses at the university as outlined below.

“We are calling on the University of Arizona to end the extremely cruel use of animals in medical training and research,” said Brittany Michelson, Campaigner at In Defense of Animals. “Cutting up animals is severely outdated science and has no place in our civilized, modern society.” 

From brain-mapping experiments on primates to surgical training procedures on live pigs, the University of Arizona is thoroughly entrenched in archaic animal experiments, causing unimaginable suffering and death to the involuntary victims. Protestors object to the wholesale devastation of these otherwise healthy beings who are prisoners and casualties of outdated animal-based research while many superior, non-animal methods are available which produce more relevant results for humans.

"From the animals' point of view, they don't care what reasons we fabricate to justify what we do to them, why we involve them in our problems, why we take their lives so casually,” said Gary Vella, President of SPEAK. “Even if they understood our language and realized what was happening, none of our reasons would be good enough for them to sacrifice their existence willingly."

Recent failures by the University of Arizona and its University Animal Care include inadequate training and carelessness in the handling of animals, causing injury and death. A March 3, 2022 USDA/APHIS inspection report obtained by Stop Animal Exploitation Now highlighted four self-reported animal deaths by University of Arizona Animal Care resulting in this official warning.

  • On September 10, 2021, three 6-month old juvenile sheep (one female and two males) died after a University of Arizona Animal Care Manager administered an incorrect Levamisole dose, causing acute Levamisole toxicity, resulting in the deaths of all three sheep within 30-60 minutes after the deworming drug was administered.
  • On October 27, 2021, a female Mexican free-tailed bat escaped from a University of Arizona research staff member’s hand while she was being hand fed. While trying to locate the bat on the floor, the staff member moved a large shelving unit on wheels and injured the bat, who was immediately euthanized due to her injuries.
  • Additionally, in January, 2021, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a federal complaint against the university, claiming the use of live animals for training doctors violates the Animal Welfare Act. University residents perform surgical procedures on live pigs despite considerable anatomical differences between pigs and humans. The organization is calling for the University of Arizona to use educationally superior, non-animal training methods which are already employed by three-quarters of surveyed surgery residencies in the United States. Non-animal training methods for physicians include human-patient simulators, laparoscopic simulators, virtual reality simulators, task trainers, and human cadavers.

For World Week for Animals in Laboratories, the public is encouraged to sign this alert to end the brutal torture of animals in labs for drug development.


Images (free for use with credit per filename):


In Defense of Animals, Brittany Michelson, 928-420-0727
Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom, Gary Vella,, (520) 881-2289


### Notes ###

Alternatives to Animal Testing, Experiments, and Training:

  • In vitro studies
  • Computer models
  • Human population studies
  • Cell cultures
  • Human tissue studies
  • Volunteer studies
  • CAT, PET, and MRI scans
  • Quantitative-structure activity relationship analysis
  • Chemical toxicity assays
  • Supervised operating room experience

Some Medical Advances Made Without Vivisection:

  • Cigarette smoking causes cancer — identified via human population studies. Cigarettes killed huge numbers of humans after passing safety tests in mice and rats
  • Discovery of penicillin — the world’s most effective life-saving drug has saved 200 million people and was developed in vitro. Penicillin kills guinea-pigs and hamsters, and causes birth defects in rats.
  • X-rays — discovered in a physics laboratory. The first experimental picture was of a human hand.
  • Production of Humulin — a synthetic copy of human insulin was developed by genetic engineering. It replaced cow and pig insulin which causes allergic reactions.

Animal Experiments Harm Humans:

  • An estimated 140,000 people have died and 320,000 have suffered heart attacks after using Vioxx, an arthritis drug that passed experiments on monkeys and five other animal species. — Natural News interview with Vioxx whistleblower
  • Six human volunteers nearly died from a severe allergic reaction in 2006. They were given an antibody treatment (TGN1412) that tested safe on monkeys at 500 times the dose. — Nature
  • One human volunteer died and four others were severely brain damaged in a 2016 clinical trial for a drug intended to treat anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain. It passed experiments on mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys. — Nature
  • Five human volunteers died and seven others suffered severe liver damage in a 1993 clinical trial of Hepatitis B drug fialuridine after the drug passed animal experiments. — The New England Journal of Medicine
  • In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimated that 92 percent of drugs that pass animal tests fail to proceed to the market. More recent analysis suggests that the failure rate has increased to around 96 percent. — Cambridge Quarterly Healthcare Ethics

Famous Anti-vivisection Quotes:

“The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in human beings.”

Dr. Richard Klausner, former director of the US National Cancer Institute

"I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil." 

Dr. Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic

"There will come a time when the world will look back to modern vivisection in the name of science as they do now to burning at the stake in the name of religion." 

Henry J. Bigelow, M.D., Professor of Surgery, Medical School, Harvard University


In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in California with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom (SPEAK) is a Tucson-based grassroots organization of animal rights advocates whose mission is to create a more animal-friendly world by increasing awareness of animal suffering while exposing the related causes. SPEAK couples educational efforts with active resistance to any form of animal abuse.