Skip to Main Content

Misery for Monkeys in Wisconsin Laboratory

Written by PETA | July 10, 2009

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.


supercentenarian / CC
rhesus monkeys


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

Commenting is closed.
  • ellybean123 says:

    I really don’t know how these “scientist” can call themselves scientists and try to justify this research. Any first grade idiot knows when you put any living creature under constant and pathetic stress the results of research are going to be skewed. I guess what this research proves is that humans, put in solitary prison cages the size of a bathroom are going to suffer and show more dramatically obnoxious symptoms than humans who are allowed to live normal lives while on whatever diet. Duh! How can somebody trained in science be so abysmally braindead stupid

  • Todd says:

    There are a lot better articles and interviews out there on this. The author seems naive and paints such a dreary picture. This is actually some pretty amazing research and is good science (not that many of you know what that is or are tolerant of it).

  • shively says:

    This junk science is no better than all the bunk science done to promote global warming.. Some guy needs to invent this junk science to keep his job or gain millions of dollars from a green market

  • Blake says:

    I highly recommend to anyone angry about this research because you don’t see the point please please talk to someone in academia in biology preferably a professor or at least someone who knows about this research. This is NOT testing the effects of eating less to lose weight. I’m a big fan of lots of what PETA does but this particular study is part of figuring out ways to go a long way towards solving problems like diabetes. Please talk to someone you trust in academia. If you don’t know anyone in academia get introduced to someone who understands what sorts of research are important to human health and why and ask them why we’re doing this research.

  • John says:

    Like the first post said it truely is ALL about 100 maintaining lifelong employment salaries careers and Federal grants. 99.99 of the time these “people” refuse to participate in debates that involve PURE SCIENCE only yet it is they who claim “your cat or your kid” in duping the general public. Animal groups like PETA should fund debates and public lectures about science ONLY so the average selfcentered person will feel they can benefit.

  • Wendy says:

    This is an outrage! Horrific and so insanely stupid!!! Enough of this crap! This should be banned and not allowed ever. Put your ideas into a computer with certain figures and compare your results. Leave all animals alone. This IS NOT necessary!

  • judy kozul says:

    This makes me so sad and sick. Isn’t there anything that can be done to stop this?? Sincerely Judy Kozul

  • Chris says:

    Read this the other day and had the same reaction as most. Oh my god! How shocking! Not being a meat eating slob will prolong your life! So how many animals need to be abused for common sense. Funny that when animal rights groups say this they are disregarded as left wing nuts or commies but when some idiots with no moral intellect that torture animals say it there is suddenly credence to it. Being an Illinois resident who is jealous of all things Wisconsin this is one thing that turns my stomach. There are stories about people who live or have lived in Madison having their companion animals go missing. UW of Madison used to make no secret of needing animals for experiments. What a bunch of diseased psychos.

  • Jaime says:

    Such a sad story. What can we do to help??

  • John Carmody says:

    Tried ringing that number to speak with that experimenter Richard Weindruch and he’s not on their list.

  • keith says:

    Ain’t there some nut out there who will start blowing these fricking arseoles away. Then all this animal abuse will soon stop. I quote some learned Prof. who said 4 or 5 of these experimentors should be enough.

  • ladywis says:

    I hate seeing stuff like this from my own state. I heard this made front page news. How heart breaking.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    And the point of this experiment was? If it was to find out you get old and fat if you sit around for 20 years and stuff yourself I’m sure there are a lot of HUMANS who would have been willing to volunteer to do that!!

  • Andy Bass says:

    Good luck with the complaint Karin. This so called ‘research’ is nothing but an outrage.

  • Patricia Webster says:

    Maybe the cowards abusing these poor animals should spend a day suffering like they have.

  • jennifer garcia says:

    thats so cruel…it takes someone with no heart to do that to innocent monkeys

  • rac says:

    If anyone else cares to contact Richard Weindruch and express your opinion about his monstrous work his email is RICHARD H WEINDRUCH Title PROFESSOR Division SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH GRADUATE SCHOOL Department MEDICINE PRIMATE RESEARCH CENTER Unit GERIATRICS AND ADULT DEVELOPMENT Mailing address B72 Veterans Administration Hospital 2500 Overlook Ter Madison WI 53705 Phone 608 2561901 608 2633503 Email

  • Angela says:

    Reading this story makes me sad. I can’t believe how some people use animals for whatever “gain” they think they might get. Did you forget that animals have feelings love their families feel etc. I am not very religious but I do hope someday we all get what is coming to us based on the decisions we make in this lifetime.

  • Shallu says:

    I just don’t understand these people are born without a heart or what! Thanks PETA for bringing the suffering of these poor beings into attention. I hope something would be done soon to end this cruelty and these monkeys would be given a chance to live the rest of their lives as they should.

  • Sarah says:

    This is horrid. What a pointless study. I hope the poor babies are freed soon!!

  • Hayley says:

    this is just awful how can they be allowed to keep them there for so long its just so wrong. get these monkeys out of there!

  • muaythai says:

    What is PETA gonna do about this cause? I hope something is done to save them!

  • Tamra says:

    Thank you PETA for all that you do. This just makes me sick to my stomach.

  • katja says:

    That is absolutely disgusting. I find it so hard to comprehend why people would think that this is ok.

  • Tammy says:

    This makes me sick!

  • Jagger says:

    That’s to sad. My prayers for these monkeys hopefully they’ll get their justice!

  • Kathleen W. says:

    This is so horrible! All these animals should be sent to a sanctuary. ALL animal testing is wrong nothing justifies harming a living feeling being.

  • Jose says:

    This is weird ‘

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Primates are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. If we continue to torture mistreat and kill them in research labs mankind will be deemed as reprobates by the Creator !

  • Brianna says:

    This is sadd

  • Lori Santaniello says:

    Yes! Thank you! I am in the Boston area and was disgusted to read about this on the FRONT PAGE of the Boston Globe this morning! This is inhumane and disgusting! There is already plenty of documented proof from humans on diet. Can you say Weight Watchers or the ‘China Study’? Can we get those poor primates out of that concentration camp????

  • cindy says:

    Basically it’s junk science so this guy and his dept can have a job.