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Letter to the Editor: Princeton’s disproportionate response to PETA’s exhibit shows their culpability

The VR exhibit, along with a poster distributed to participants 
Amy Ciceu / The Daily Princetonian

To the Editor:

Recently, Princeton University’s animal experimentation laboratories went into a full-blown panic — vigilance was urged, emergency measures were taken, and a lockdown was initiated. Even the school’s spokesperson was paraded out, spouting platitudes about how the animals Princeton experimenters routinely maim and kill in pointless experiments are treated in a “humane and responsible” manner and how these experiments undergo “rigorous scientific, ethical and regulatory oversight.”


Princeton’s panic was not because of any actual emergency, but because PETA simply staged an exhibit on campus. The outsized reaction would be comical if it did not betray a grim and inconvenient truth hiding in plain sight on the school’s campus.

Never mind the federal reports documenting violations of these very standards in the school’s laboratories: animals left without food or veterinary care, subjected to procedures unapproved by the University’s animal experimentation oversight body; mice subjected to a procedure causing limb paralysis, and a monkey subjected to monthly MRIs, but left unmonitored afterward.

Princeton labs kill animals in experiments that do nothing to forward science. In fact, 95 percent of drugs that test safe in animals fail in human trials. Further, a staggering 90 percent of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans.

If an exhibit designed to increase empathy with other living, sentient beings is somehow threatening to Princeton’s labs, that should tell everyone who is on the right side of history and who is propping up a violent and useless house of cards.

Keith Brown is a science writer in the Laboratory Investigations Department of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).