NIH Director Turns Blind Eye to Cruelty—Demand New Leadership Now

UN LAB Middleware Label: Title Ends


PETA is calling the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis “Blind Eye” Collins, and he must resign.

U.S. taxpayers shell out billions of dollars every year to fund NIH, expecting the agency to pay back their investment with urgently needed treatments and cures. Here’s what taxpayers get instead: NIH’s continued reliance on failed animal experimentation and negligence, cruelty, and repeated violations of federal law in the agency’s own animal laboratories. Collins has served as the director of NIH since August 2009.

photo of Francis Collins meme

Episode #184: To End NIH Animal Tests, Dr. Francis Collins Must Resign

From January 2018 to June 2021, 75 cases of serious animal welfare violations were documented in NIH’s Maryland laboratories. Animals suffocated, starved, and died of dehydration. They were injected with the wrong drugs and subjected to unapproved procedures. They became entrapped in parts of equipment and died while frantically struggling to escape.

One mouse burst into flames when experimenters failed to notice that alcohol fumes had built up during heat-generating electrocautery surgery. Another suffered for days, listless and emaciated, after a veterinarian recommended prompt euthanasia but an experimenter failed to carry it out.

One monkey under anesthesia sustained a large, blistering burn to his abdomen when an experimenter incorrectly placed a heating pad directly on his skin. Four others became so dehydrated when inattentive staff failed to notice a disconnected water line that they had to be given fluids through an IV. A female owl monkey lost 20% of her bodyweight and was severely anemic but wasn’t provided with veterinary care and died in her cage.

Dogs were used in a septic shock study that was suspended after experimenters deviated from the approved protocol, including by using sutures that caused infection.

The horror show goes on from there, and it doesn’t get any prettier.

For years, Collins has turned a blind eye to this gruesome spectacle that he oversees—and to the fact that precious few treatments or cures have come out of his kingdom of suffering. Even as scientific evidence of the failure of animal experiments to produce cures and treatments for humans has mounted, the agency has continued to waste public funds on cruel and failed experiments.

In its strategic plan for 2016 through 2020, NIH acknowledged that “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans”—yet Collins continues to squander nearly half the agency’s budget on this pseudoscience year after year.

Collins has been at the helm of NIH’s sinking ship for more than a decade, and he’s shown himself unwilling or incapable of steering it toward modern, human-relevant research. If the U.S. is to maintain its position as a world leader in research, NIH must change course now—with a fresh, innovative new captain at the helm.

Take action below to urge U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to replace Collins with a forward-thinking new leader who will do justice to NIH’s critical mission.

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