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  1. News Release

  2. Jan 31, 2022

Physicians Group Requests Urgent Federal Investigation of Mayor Nirenberg, City Council for Abuse of Federal Funds

Billboard on I-10 Urges Leaders to “REJECT $10 Million for Texas Biomed!”

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and members of the City Council are trying to bypass voters and rush $10 million in public funds to a notorious, wealthy animal experimentation facility, but a national physicians group isn’t having it. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which represents more than 17,000 doctors, today requested that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Government Accountability Office open investigations into city leaders’ effort to misuse public funding for the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. 

In December, Texas Biomed withdrew its request for an $11 million municipal bond after significant opposition from voters over the corporation’s long history of neglect and abuse of animals. City leaders only revealed plans to award $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to Texas Biomed on Jan. 26—just 8 days before the Council’s upcoming Feb. 3 vote on the matter. In its complaint, the Physicians Committee points out that Texas Biomed does not qualify for such funding and has even profited during the pandemic, writing: “We ask you to prevent Texas Biomed from using its significant political connections in San Antonio to illegally commandeer millions more in federal COVID-19 aid, to which ARPA rightfully entitles small businesses, government employees, social service organizations, and struggling families.”

The Physicians Committee also installed a billboard directed at the City Council that states “San Antonio City Council: REJECT $10 Million for Texas Biomed! Support modern science, not animal cruelty!” The billboard, which features an image of a caged monkey across a black background, is located on I-10 and is visible to traffic headed north, on the northeast side of the interstate, just before it crosses N. Colorado Street.

Texas Biomed has claimed that it must expand its facilities because of a “shortage” of nonhuman primates.  The Physicians Committee points out that such an expansion would do nothing to advance human medicine or to aid in the discovery of new therapeutics for people suffering from disease. In addition, according to records filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of 2020, Texas Biomed “held” 1,939 nonhuman primates who were “not yet used,” revealing that there is no such “shortage.”

“Shame on Mayor Nirenberg and the City Council for trying to bypass voters like this,” said John Pippin, MD, FACC, director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee. “There is no way to justify using APRA funds on cruel and useless animal experiments—money that was intended to support communities as they weather the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The use of nonhuman primates in research is widely known to be costly, time-consuming, and largely ineffective in improving human health. National Institutes of Health researchers even concluded that studies on previous coronaviruses had been largely unsuccessful “in part because of difficulties in developing animal models that provide consistent and reproducible results.” 

For a copy of the complaint or to see the billboard, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or rpohl [at] (rpohl[at]pcrm[dot]org)

Media Contact

Reina Pohl, MPH



Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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