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Victory! Harvard to Shut Down Primate Laboratory

Written by Michelle Kretzer | April 23, 2013

In the midst of World Week for Animals in Laboratories, we have exciting news to share. After more than three decades of PETA action, Harvard will be shutting down its deeply controversial primate-testing facility in 2015.

This victory is 30 years in the making. In fact, some early-day PETA members took part in a headline-making demonstration outside the laboratory on April 25, 1983, almost 30 years ago to the day. Since then, we’ve kept the public informed about the cruel and deadly experiments going on at the facility and filed numerous federal complaints against it. Now, we will urge the center to fund the retirement all of its captive primates to existing sanctuaries or build a place suitable to retire them. 

PETA’s director of laboratory investigations, Justin Goodman, made this announcement:

PETA is celebrating Harvard’s decision to shutter its massive primate prison after our decades-long campaign to achieve exactly that. This forward-thinking move recognizes not only the financial reality but also the signals that the future of research at top-notch institutions does not lie in tormenting other species. For decades, the more than 2,000 primates confined at Harvard have been shocked, starved, infected with debilitating illnesses, and addicted to cocaine, heroin, nicotine, and alcohol in painful and irrelevant experiments. PETA is pleased that Harvard has made the long-awaited decision to stop treating our fellow beings like unfeeling test tubes, and we hope these primates do not end up shunted to yet another laboratory.

Since our inception, PETA has protested the abuse of primates in Harvard’s laboratories. Harvard’s announcement comes almost 30 years to the day after PETA and 5,000 other activists gathered for a historic protest on Boston Common to demand an end to this cruelty. Recently, PETA protested and stopped NASA’s plans to fund radiation experiments on monkeys at Harvard, targeted Harvard as one of the worst laboratories in the U.S., filed complaints calling on the federal government to revoke taxpayer funding following the Harvard primate center’s laundry list of animal welfare violations, and run ads on cabs and bus shelters around the city declaring that experiments on primates are tantamount to murder.”

The almost defunct New England Primate Research Center is one of eight such dedicated federally funded primate prisons across the country. Other similar facilities are located in Oregon, Georgia, WisconsinWashington, Texas,  California, and Louisiana. We need your help to empty all of their cages. Please ask Congress to divert public money away from experiments on animals in favor of humane, relevant, and lifesaving non-animal research.  

I am reminded of a famed Victor Hugo quote: “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Thank you, PETA supporters. And congratulations. 

Commenting is closed.
  • Ria says:

    How can we ensure that these “retired”/ released primates will have a loving place to go to and not another lab?

  • sair_qures says:

    Unethical heartless people who put animals in fatally dangerous or traumatizing experiments and trials are not humans by nature. How would these people like if animals did all that to them, that they do to animals? Animals are biologically different and most of the research studies in which animals serve as testable life form, are studies that are not necessary. Unless we respect and protect lives of animals, we would never learn to protect our own generations and the planet.

  • christiane Berckmans says:

    Why don’t they closed their torture chambers NOW ! Why must the poor, innocent monkeys wait 2 years ??????? It’s stupid !

  • chander kumar soni says:

    thanks harvard.

  • juana says:

    THANK YOU so much PETA you and all the people who works so hard for this purpose, to save animal lives, Thank you. I love you in the behalves of all the animals. juanita

  • Shannon says:

    Stop putting monkeys in labs!

  • Katie Hearn says:

    Amazing news!!! well done PETA. Just praying for them to get out earlier!

  • S Earlene says:

    I am happy to read this article this is a step in the right direction. How I will contribute to humane research is by donating my body when I pass away someday. My mother and I came up with this idea while discussing her preparation for her funeral in her will she is 68 years old. The cost to bury someone today is several thousand dollars. Since she has always had high cholesterol and I suffer from Epilepsy maybe they can find something within us that just might save a life. I don’t know if PETA will show my comment but if they do this is my way of helping animals from egregious testing, and after all once I pass away I won’t need my body anymore….

  • Frendo says:

    il etait tant que l’on arrete les test sur des animaux dans les universites

  • mark osborne says:

    Why cant they just test on human blood cells?

  • Susan Butorac says:

    I only wish we could shut down the lab and move them now, 2015 is 2.6 years away, that is 2.6 years of unimaginable torture. Why do we have to wait till then? Many will die in the meantime….or get tortured even worse as gestures of farewell. Lets all pray to get them out earlier.

  • Beryl Furman says:


  • linda says:

    This great news has brought tears to my eyes…PETA U ROCK!!! And all the beautiful people who care about this stuff….LETS STOP MORE THINGS LIKE THIS WE CAN DO MORE GROOVY I WOULD SAY WE’RE A MOVEMENT!!!!!!

  • mariam Willis says:

    Great job PETA ! I think that they should stop immediately.. animals are going to continue being tortured needlessly still…I cannot feel good about that.

  • Dixie Lee Howe says:

    All I have to say Thank you PETA!!! Thank you Ingrid Newkirk and all the staff that FOR NOT EVER GIVING UP ON THESE PRECIOUS INTELLIGENT ANIMALS!! If you haven’t read Free the Animals! by Ingrid Newkirk, Please read her book!

  • jilly proffitt says:

    well done Peta, fantastic news, so much cruelty inflicted, so much sadness, the goverments who allow so much cruelty shame on you, how do you sleep at night the perpertrators of such a heinous crime should be brought to justice, instead of hiding behind the name of so called science. Thank goodness for Peta for never giving up. Jill Proffitt U.K

  • Alina says:

    Great news! PETA, thank you! <3

  • Carter Deeds says:

    OMFG. Good job PETA! 😀

  • darlingsapphire says:

    This is good news but not soon enough and my only wish is that the humans who made these innocent animals suffer, get the same treatment as they gave to them…if this is not possible then put them in prison for the rest of their life.

  • Mary Lou Chretien says:

    thank you PETA for the hard work that you are doing for these beautiful animals. Why wait till 2015 . Let these primates go now and be free and to enjoy themselves. Shame on you Harvard for all the cruelty and hurt and the pain that they endured. Again thank you PETA Mary Lou Chretien

  • Jill A Cabarle says:

    Thaaaaaank YOU!!!!!!

  • liu wai ling says:

    Thank you PETA, It is not easy keep going. I support.

  • margo says:

    “This victory is 30 years in the making.” It took Harvard THAT long to get the message? And they’re supposed to be smart?

  • Barry Wilkins says:

    good job,keep up the fight

  • Wendy Kaelin says:

    Thank you PETA; you’ve accomplished the impossible.

  • Lizy Martinez says:


  • vanessa di meglio flaissier says:

    That is a really good news!

  • Natalia Ilarraz says:


  • misuk ko says:

    Stop paying tax money for the experiments on animals and support alternatives & non-animal methods!!!

  • Cassidi O'Brien says:

    Stop the abuse!

  • amy nguyen says:

    Why stop testing until 2015? Why take until that time? So how many animals will be died until 2015? All scientists go to hell