People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for a state audit of funds given to Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh following the schools' allegedly euthanized "hundreds" of animals due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter PETA sent to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale Tuesday.

PETA's Vice President Shalin Gala wrote in the four-page letter the organization is requesting that Pasquale audit both schools' "use of public money, personnel, property, equipment and space."

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PETA claims the universities have euthanized “hundreds or more” animals due to the institutions’ decision that those animals were not relevant enough to keep alive for experimentation.

Having been given in almost $473 million in state appropriations in 2019, both schools had a portion of the funding set aside for animal testing, which had to be delayed or stopped all together because of the pandemic.

The animal rights group also questioned why the experiments were funded by taxpayers and were planned to happen in the first place if they were not valued enough to be considered essential during the pandemic.

In March, Penn State "urged experimenters" to prepare for a reduction of all on-campus research limited to only "essential research-related activities," which led to the death of animals in its laboratories, the letter said.

Pitt also told experimenters to "[i]dentify all non-essential research-related activities that can be delayed, ramped down, curtailed, or suspended… and begin the process to do so," which also likely led to animal deaths, the letter said.

"If wastefulness is corroborated, we request that you take all corrective actions to ensure that current state-funded research activities involving such animals are permanently terminated, that new state-funded research activities that include such animals are no longer approved, and that the breeding and acquisition of such animals for state-funded research activities are prohibited," the letter reads.

According to PETA, “more than 90% of basic scientific research—much of it involving animal experimentation—fails to lead to treatments for humans while 95% of new medications that are found to be safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.”

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