Written by Jeff Mackey
For more than two decades, experimenters at the National
Institute on Aging (NIA, part of the National Institutes of Health) and the
University of Wisconsin–Madison
(UW–Madison) starved caged
monkeys—depriving them of a whopping 30 percent of needed calories—to see if
this would increase their longevity. Now, the vivisectors at NIA have announced that the extreme, prolonged deprivation had no
effect on the monkeys' life span.
The NIA studies, funded by taxpayers, started in 1987, and
the UW–Madison studies
began in 1989. At both facilities—and also at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, where similar experiments are being conducted—the monkeys, in addition to being
kept chronically hungry in a semi-starved state, were imprisoned in tiny barren
cages and condemned to a lifetime of isolation, without even the simplest
benefit of any cage mates. As journalist Gina Kolata described in The New York Times:
For 25 years, the rhesus monkeys were kept
semi-starved, lean and hungry. The males' weights were so low they were the
equivalent of a 6-foot-tall man who tipped the scales at just 120 to 133
pounds. The hope was that if the monkeys lived longer, healthier lives by
eating a lot less, then maybe people, their evolutionary cousins, would, too.
When the studies at UW–Madison were first made public in 2009, PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the university's egregious violations
of the Animal Welfare Act. In addition, PETA complained to the UW–Madison Institutional Animal
Care and Use Committee, but our concerns were dismissed.
Now, after decades of condemning intelligent, sensitive
monkeys to protracted suffering, the vivisectors have admitted that their
experiments not only failed to make their point but also were poorly designed:
The monkeys were fed a diet that was 28.5 percent sucrose (i.e., empty
calories). So, in addition to being ethically inexcusable, the experiments were
But no matter what the experimenters were trying to prove,
it was wrong to cage and starve these monkeys. All so-called "calorie-restriction
experiments" (that's vivisector lingo for "starving animals")
should be banned now. Primates are extremely intelligent animals who form
intricate social relationships, experience the same wide range of emotions that
we do, and exhibit a capacity for suffering similar to ours. Rhesus macaque
monkeys have been shown to use tools, count, and communicate complex
information. Monkeys can also express empathy, and they possess a sense of
fairness—something that many experimenters seem to lack.
Ssppeeeeddyy|cc by 2.0
We each have a role to play in helping monkeys and other
primates suffering in laboratories. Please urge the federal government to stop wasting
our tax dollars on cruel and pointless experiments on animals.
There's good news today in a case we told you about
in May 2010: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has hit the Texas Biomedical
Research Institute—formerly the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical
Research—with a fine of more than
$25,000 over serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The
facility has repeatedly allowed primates to escape from their cages and injure
themselves and others, including humans.
The stiff fine comes after PETA filed a formal complaint
with the agency in 2010 after two baboons imprisoned at Texas Biomed escaped
from their cages, injuring an employee in the process. The fine also covers an
incident from 2009 in which a juvenile rhesus macaque monkey escaped from a
cage and then spent the night in below-freezing temperatures. He suffered from
hypothermia and had to be euthanized.
But quite apart from the satisfaction of seeing these primate torturers pay at
least a small price for their misdeeds,
these penalties are an important reminder to heartless experimenters everywhere
that abusing animals can cost them more than karma points.
But since karma is
on our side, let's keep the momentum going. Texas Biomed is notorious for being
one of the last laboratories in the world that still torments chimpanzees in
cruel and invasive experiments.
You can do your part to help protect primates—just click here to ask your
congressional representatives to cosponsor and support the Great Ape Protection
and Cost Savings Act today, which would end experiments on chimpanzees at Texas Biomed and
Written by PETA
Update: Eighteen people with homes near the Yerkes National Primate Research Center have filed a complaint with city and county officials demanding that the facility be shut down. The female rhesus monkey still has not been found.
It shouldn't come as any surprise that the 4,000 intelligent, sensitive nonhuman primates at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center would want to flee their misery and deadly fate. But a brave monkey who escaped her captors at Yerkes this week is now loose in a foreign and frightening environment, and she faces injury, starvation, and possibly worse, thanks to the facility's failure to maintain safe and secure enclosures. PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the laboratory for possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Yerkes, which is also one of the last facilities in the world to conduct invasive experiments on chimpanzees, has a sordid history of violations of federal animal welfare laws, including 10 violations in just the last two years and a $15,000 fine in 2007. It has been cited for scalding a monkey to death by allowing her to go through a boiling hot automated cage washer, restraining conscious primates with duct tape, and negligently causing the deaths of chimpanzees. We are urging USDA inspectors to file civil charges and levy substantial fines to let Yerkes know that it means business and that experimenters cannot violate the law with impunity.
You can help our fellow primates imprisoned at Yerkes by asking Congress to end to all invasive experiments on great apes.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
The year was 1989. Grandpa Bush moved into the White House. Actor/dolphin protector Hayden Panettiere was born. And most Americans had never even heard of the Internet.
That same year, experiments were initiated at the University of Wisconsin in which rhesus monkeys were crammed into tiny, barren metal cages, slated to spend their entire lives as experiments in order to study the effects of diet on aging.
Fast-forward to 2009: These highly social animals are still isolated in cages—they've been there for two decades. One half of the population of 76 monkeys has been deliberately underfed for the past 20 years. All of them have been unable to take more than a step or two in any direction since arriving at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and—if researchers have their way—all these monkeys will continue to suffer until they die, which could take another 15 years.
The results of this experiment: After years of starvation, the "calorie-restricted" animals looked "less wrinkled and flabby."
The senior author of this grossly inhumane study, University of Wisconsin-Madison's Richard Weindruch, is blatantly ignoring the positive effects of exercise on the human heart, bone health, and body weight. And dozens of highly social, active animals have been condemned to a lifetime of isolation, without even the simplest yet meaningful benefit of cagemates, because of it. So, we've filed a complaint with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that the positive health effects of caloric restriction have already been confirmed in short-term human trials and that the suffering endured by these monkeys is not justified by the perceived benefit of the experiment.
Written by Karin Bennett
Since 1981, Sisi had been incarcerated at the Manila Zoo. Although orangutans are tree-dwelling animals, Sisi was forced to live much of her life in a tiny, litter-filled concrete-and-steel enclosure. She was on display continually in a cage that was surrounded by noisy souvenir stands and food vendors, and she was provided with nothing to hold her interest, help her pass the time, or stimulate her keen senses.
Sisi's death, reportedly from cancer, is just one indication of how animals have been left in deteriorating health without veterinary care at this atrocious zoo. Because PETA Asia-Pacific remains concerned about the well-being of the surviving animals at the Manila Zoo, who all lack the space, exercise, privacy, and mental stimulation that they require, the organization has decided to send a funeral wreath to the zoo in Sisi's honor. The wreath includes a ribbon emblazoned with the message "Sisi: Suffered in Life, Peace in Death" and will be accompanied by a card calling on zoo officials to close the facility's doors.
Written by Shawna Flavell
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.