peta u of t

PETA calls on U of T to stop experimenting on animals after COVID-19 lab closures result in animal deaths

The University of Toronto has come under fire from PETA as of late after one researcher said she had to slaughter more than 100 rats due to COVID-19 lab closures. 

The tweet in question was posted by a U of T researcher back in March, and it speaks affectionately about the animals that had to be put down due to COVID-19.

"I don’t normally post about my research animals but today, I need to say thank you to them. They’re the unsung heroes of every advancement in science and medicine," reads the tweet.

"Today, due to lab closures and #COVID-19, I have to cull around 100+ rats. Rest well friends, you deserve it."

In response, the animal rights organization sent a letter to U of T President Meric Gertler today demanding to know why they conduct non-critical animal experiments and urging them to stop altogether.

The letter, written by PETA Vice President Shalin Gala, demands that U of T stop all current and new animal experiments and ban the breeding and purchase of animals. 

It also says they should prove that all of these animals and experiments are concretely advancing human health, and if they’re not then they should switch to "superior human-relevant, animal-free research methods." PETA says the school should also tell taxpayers how many animals it "deemed extraneous and killed in response to COVID-19."

"The University of Toronto's use of intelligent animals in experiments as though they were nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment is shameful," Gala said in a statement.

"The COVID-19 pandemic should be a moral and scientific reckoning for the school, which conducts deadly experiments on animals. If the university can't prove that the animals used in its experiments are needed — which we know it can't — it shouldn't be wasting taxpayer money on them."

The letter goes on to cite a scholarly article that states that 90 per cent of highly promising basic science discoveries — most of which involve animal experiments — do not enter routine clinical use in humans.

Many labs have been forced to halt animal experiments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems PETA is hoping U of T will follow suit indefinitely.

Lead photo by

Michael Ishlove


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

The TTC is shutting down subway service along a huge part of Line 1 for 10 full days

Toronto police ask victims to come forward after arresting man for assault on TTC bus

Unmasked Toronto nurse refuses testing and quarantine at Pearson Airport

University of Toronto ranked best in Canada across 5 subject fields

These are the rules for when Toronto enters the grey lockdown zone

Retail stores can officially reopen for in-person shopping in Toronto next week

Here are the new gathering limits under grey zone lockdown in Toronto

Toronto will officially enter the grey zone of Ontario's framework on Monday