Written by Jeff Mackey
In response to a series of significant animal welfare
violations and complaints filed by PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) has taken the rare step of fining the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) almost $12,000 for repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare
Act. ONPRC imprisons, sickens, terrorizes, and mutilates thousands of monkeys
each year in experiments with impunity, so it's good to know that the facility
will be punished for causing animals to suffer more by failing to uphold even
The violations, which took place in 2009, included the escape of nine monkeys from the facility as well as the deaths of five other monkeys from a variety of
causes, including from dehydration, being injected with unapproved compounds, and improper procedures performed by an inadequately trained employee.
Following the escape, PETA called on the USDA to investigate and issue a fine
In 2007, PETA conducted a shocking undercover investigation, which exposed horrific laboratory conditions at ONPRC. The next year, the USDA
issued an "official
warning"—the precursor to a fine—to ONPRC. Internal documents obtained by PETA had revealed
that a sick pregnant monkey died after being denied veterinary care, that a
surgical sponge was left in a baboon—causing an abscess—and was discovered only
after he was killed for an experiment, and that experimenters mistakenly
performed surgery on the wrong monkey. After repeatedly finding negligence and
callous disregard, federal investigators are finally speaking the only language
that ONPRC understands: dollars and cents.
Take a stand for the animals imprisoned at ONPRC. Ask the National Institutes of
Health to stop funding cruel and useless nicotine experiments on animals at ONPRC and
Written by PETA
PETA's exciting new national anti-vivisection ad campaign tells it like it is: If you call it medical research, you can get away with murder. And April's nominees for Vivisector of the Month are a case in point. They are also so close in heinousness it's going to be a tough fight to call. Here are these baby-animal abusers in all their gory … I mean, glory:
Kevin Grove at the Oregon National Primate Research Center abuses monkeys to try to show that pregnant women should eat healthy foods and that not doing so can be bad for their babies.
Grove confines monkeys to cramped cages and stuffs them with unhealthy foods until they are obese. He then impregnates the monkeys and gives some of them healthy foods and others fatty foods. Some of the mother monkeys from each group are killed and cut open, and their brains and fetuses are removed and examined. The monkeys who aren't killed give birth and have their babies yanked away from them almost immediately, which is traumatic to both mother and baby. Grove and his team then terrorize the babies to see if the ones from mothers who ate unhealthy foods scare more easily.
Grove's junk science has recently been criticized by students, scientists, and compassionate people around the country. And did we mention that the cost of these stupid and inhumane experiments has totaled $3.4 million in taxpayer money since 2007? Is it just me or would that much money be better spent on educational programs teaching pregnant women about good nutrition?
And in the other corner, Jason Coleman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spends his days (and our tax money) tormenting and killing baby mice. In experiments funded by the National Institutes of Hell Health, he and his team cut the edges off the eyelids of baby mice and sew the lids together until they fuse to each other and the babies are unable to open one eye. Then they drill holes into the babies' skulls, implant electrodes into their brains, and stab the mice in the eyes with needles to inject drugs. After recording their brain activity, they kill the mice and cut out their eyes and brains.
Both of these vivisectors are a mother's worst nightmare, but which one would you most like to see get K.O.'d by one of our UFC PETA pals? Will it be Kevin "Gravedigger" Grove or Jason "Heart of Coal" Coleman? After you've made your pick, send an e-mail to your representatives and senators asking them cut funding for cruel and deadly animal experiments.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Just when you thought experiments on animals couldn't get any more cruel or absurd, the good folks at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) managed to come up with an experiment on baby monkeys that's so cruel and ridiculous it might even give Harry "Monster Mother" Harlow pause.
ONPRC experimenter Kevin Grove is spending $750,000 in taxpayer money per year to make monkeys fat and play mind games with their babies. First he feeds pregnant monkeys unhealthy high-fat diets. After the babies are born (many preterm babies are cut out of their mothers' wombs and immediately killed so that their brains can be dissected), he attempts to scare the bejeezus out of them by putting things in their cages that he knows they are afraid of, including Mr. Potato Head dolls. Yes, you read that right. If that doesn't do the trick, he engages the baby monkeys in staring contests. Yes, you read that right too.
The breathtaking conclusion of this baby-bullying in the name of science? Monkeys who are born to mothers who ate high-fat diets are more easily stressed and frightened than babies born to mothers who ate healthy diets. Gee, couldn't he have hung out at the local McDonald's and learned the same thing?
Written by Alisa Mullins
Back in March, we told you about the USDA's investigation at Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). The investigation came about as a result of a PETA complaint exposing that a monkey had been operated on by mistake; that a sick, pregnant monkey had been denied veterinary care; and that other abuses had taken place. The USDA backed up our findings, citing ONPRC for violations of the Animal Welfare Act and issuing the facility a warning. And let's not forget what we found during our undercover investigation.
Well, it's been barely seven months, and ONPRC is in hot water again. According to a lawsuit filed by InVivo Therapeutics—one of the companies that hired ONPRC to torture experiment on monkeys—ONPRC so severely neglected seven monkeys whose spinal cords it had surgically severed that four of the monkeys had to be euthanized.
Of course, the lawsuit is a lose-lose for the monkeys. InVivo had paid ONPRC to paralyze the animals so that researchers could implant them with a device developed by InVivo in order to see if they would regain any movement. In the lawsuit, InVivo alleges that early in the research period, more than one third of the monkeys provided by ONPRC suffered illnesses or injuries such as bladder problems because ONPRC failed to provide the proper post-surgery care or a medical device necessary to keep their bodily systems functioning. InVivo also alleges that at least one monkey developed "a debilitating staph infection" as a result of bacteria at ONPRC.
The publicity surrounding the case has shined another spotlight on abuses at ONPRC as well as the inadequacy of the federal law that is supposed to protect animals in laboratories.
If you have a strong stomach, go to StopAnimalTests.com to find out more about the cruel, redundant, and archaic experiments conducted on primates at ONPRC, and then dash off a letter to the National Institutes of Health, urging it to stop funneling your tax dollars to ONPRC.
Written by Alisa Mullins
On the "even the little guy sometimes gets a break" front, we recently received news that nine monkeys had escaped from the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). The monkeys apparently made a break for it when a laboratory worker left their outdoor cage unsecured (great idea—lab workers reading this please take note). Sadly, all the monkeys were eventually captured, but freedom tasted good while it lasted, didn't it, guys?
Perhaps those monkeys were reading The PETA Files? Just last month, we reported that ONPRC had been cited for three violations of the Animal Welfare Act and slapped with a formal warning from the USDA, which told ONPRC that if it didn't shape up, it could face civil or criminal penalties. This after PETA repeatedly brought to the USDA's attention abuses such as botched surgeries, the forced separation of infant monkeys from their mothers, and the deaths of monkeys who had been denied veterinary care. PETA also told the USDA about how monkeys at ONPRC were forced to eat food out of waste-filled trays, blasted with high-pressure hoses in their cages, and much more.
Even though we were rooting for the escaped monkeys to catch a freight train out of there forever, we have filed yet another complaint with the USDA. We pointed out that the USDA had told ONPRC that if it screwed up again, it was going to be in serious trouble. So, USDA, please stand by your word. ONPRC has been given more than enough opportunities to clean up its act, and it has failed. If only the 4,000 monkeys who are imprisoned at ONPRC could receive as many "second chances." There is nothing good in their future, we fear.
Written by Alisa Mullins
It's been awhile since we last mentioned the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). But even though ONPRC hasn't been in our blog, it's been very much on our minds, and there are encouraging new developments to report.
For those of you who have hit-and-miss memories like mine, here's a quick recap: Our 2007 undercover investigation at ONPRC found that monkeys were tormented by laboratory staffers, forced to eat food out of waste-filled trays, denied medical care or pain relief, and driven mad by horrific laboratory conditions. Still, despite undeniable video evidence, the USDA somehow didn't see anything wrong at ONPRC.
At that point, ONPRC may have thought that it had won and that we would slink away. But, hey, this is PETA, after all, so think again, monkey abusers!
This past fall, we obtained new internal documents from ONPRC that detailed further abuse and neglect, so we submitted a new complaint to the USDA. In it, we outlined the following incidents:
Wow. Cold-hearted and inept—a deadly combination.
Based on our complaint, the USDA inspected ONPRC, and this time, it confirmed our allegations. So ONPRC was cited for three violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including causing monkeys trauma, stress, harm or discomfort and failing to adequately monitor and provide veterinary care to animals.
And the agency didn't stop there: In December, the USDA issued an "official warning" to ONPRC that it may face civil or criminal penalties if additional violations are found in the future.
It's a hopeful sign of progress, but we're hardly done with ONPRC. After all, these incidents are only a small part of the cruelty still being inflicted on the more than 4,000 primates there.
Deflocked, baby. Deflocked.
To check out the archives of past strips, click here.
You may remember the uproar surrounding our recent investigation into the Oregon National Primate Research Center, which found apparent violations of animal protection laws and monkeys who were living in constant fear, confined to small cages and traumatized by rough handling. Well, the latest news we’re hearing from Oregon is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is charged with responding to animal abuse complaints such as this one, has investigated the ONPRC and come up with nothing. A representative of ONPRC, Michael Conn, responded to these reports with the following little piece of Orwellian spin:
"Our business involves offering hope to people with disease. My colleagues and I will not be deterred by extremist organizations or those who choose to campaign based on false information and harassment."
The “false information” that Mr. Conn is referring to is incontrovertible video evidence from a painstaking four-month investigation that yielded extensive documentation of abuse, mishandling, and bad practice at the institution. What he means by “harassment,” I can only assume, is the fact that PETA dared to bring the ONPRC’s dirty secrets to the attention of the public. And, of course, when Conn talks about “offering hope to people with disease,” he is presumably referring to the fact that his organization takes the public’s money to perform redundant and inconclusive experiments on defenseless animals—including injecting pregnant monkeys with nicotine and killing their babies to investigate just how bad smoking is for you, and psychologically abusing infant primates to study whether trauma is traumatic.
PETA’s Director of Research, Kathy Guillermo, responded to these reports today with the following letter to the editor. Check it out, and then watch the video of our investigation for yourself to decide whether the primate center deserves anything short of being shut down forever.
Editor:If the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) really has found no problems at the primate center, either the law needs to change or the inspectors do. The evidence gathered by PETA’s investigator was shattering: Monkeys screamed in terror as employees chased them around gang cages, grabbed them and pinned their arms behind their backs. An infant monkey, taken from her own mother rocked inconsolably on the floor of a cage, clutching her arm—her only source of comfort. Monkeys, cornered in their small cages, couldn’t escape the needle-sharp spray of high pressure hoses. Animals driven mad by confinement and isolation whirled in their cages, unable to find comfort. See video of all this at StopAnimalTests.com. More likely, this is a shameful whitewash by the primate center, and this inspection is just one part of a larger, ongoing investigation. It would be impossible to examine fully—in just 2 days—every example of abuse PETA’s investigator documented. USDA inspectors normally spend many, many months, reviewing documents, photos and video, and interviewing the whistleblower. The real tragedy is that the primate center continues to make disingenuous excuses rather than taking meaningful action to alleviate the terrible suffering witnessed by PETA’s investigator.Sincerely, Kathy GuillermoDirector of Research
I posted yesterday about two “scientists” at the Oregon National Primate Research Center who have squandered tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on hideously cruel experiments that achieve nothing more than reaffirming painfully obvious truths such as that children suffer when they are deprived of maternal affection.
What I didn’t mention is that PETA has had an investigator inside these notorious labs this year, who spent four months documenting egregious abuses of the animals who are used for ONPRC’s experiments. Among other standard abuses, the animals at ONPRC were forced to eat food from their waste trays; they were terrorized when they were chased and caught in group cages; and they suffered such severe psychological trauma that at least one monkey, Megatron, resorted to self-mutilation. As PETA President Ingrid Newkirk puts it:
"PETA's investigator documented ONPRC's complete disregard for animals and for the laws that should protect them. These animals live in terror every second of every day—they are shut in metal boxes and killed for nicotine and alcohol experiments as well as other wasteful and repetitive studies."
As I said yesterday, we’re working on getting these people shut down. You can watch our investigator’s video below, and then please click here to ask the USDA to launch a full investigation into this hellhole.
Update: I just heard from my friend Harald at PETA Germany that the kind soul who rescued the lobsters is a PETA Germany activist! So, if you’re reading this, anonymous German lobster-liberating activist: Danke! From der bottom of mein heart.
It’s been a good month for lobsters. Well, insofar as it’s possible to have a good month when your people are routinely boiled alive and made into bisque. Let’s call it a “slightly better” month than usual. First, a study published in New Scientist proved what we all know already: that lobsters feel pain (scientists are sometimes a bit slower to catch on than the rest of us—they are a methodical people). And now, there’s news from Stuttgart, Germany, that dozens of lobsters escaped from an Asian supermarket out into the street, where they were rescued and sent to an animal sanctuary. Here’s how our good friends at Der Spiegel described the incident:
“The clawed crustaceans, some of them up to 15 centimeters long, managed to crawl out of their crates, which had been poorly secured with wire mesh, then scurried across the floor of the supermarket and squeezed through the metal shutters covering the front of the store. The front door had been left open by mistake.”
Congratulations, lobsters! We’re all pulling for you. We’re all pulling for you. And for more on this story, Stephen Colbert, ladies and gentlemen:
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