Animals Scalded to Death Inside Cage Washers by Careless Experimenters

Published by Zachary Toliver.

Update: August 31, 2020

Two rhesus macaques at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) died after the cage to which they were confined was run through a high-temperature mechanical cage washer—with the monkeys trapped inside. The news follows PETA’s release of video footage of juvenile Japanese macaques at the ONPRC who were used in pointless “junk food” experiments. The scalding deaths are the latest in the center’s long history of incompetence and cruelty. Read more, and take action to shut this hellhole down.


There’s no end to the ways in which experimenters mutilate and torment animals—including by disemboweling them—in laboratories. But some of the most appalling suffering occurs as a result of sheer negligence—namely, leaving animals in cages to be scalded to death and torn apart when they’re sent through high-powered automated cage washers.

That’s right—the same experimenters (and their staff) who claim to be trying to find cures for humanity’s most challenging diseases are so oblivious that they forget to take animals out of  cages before sending them through high-pressure, high-temperature power washers.

Imagine how horrific these animals’ deaths are when they’re trapped inside cage washers, like this:

Tragically, this is common in laboratories:

  • Experimenters at Nestle Purina Global Resources Inc.— the “pet” food company— killed a cat named Tyson when employees left him inside his cage while going through a sanitation washer.
  • At the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, experimenters left an owl monkey in a cage that went through a scalding-hot, high-pressure washer. A federal report noted that the monkey’s body was so mutilated that it was impossible to determine an exact cause of death.
  • At Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories in Washington State, a female macaque monkey was scalded to death inside her cage when it was placed in a giant rack washer on a 180-degree, 20-minute cleaning cycle.
  • Experimenters working for pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb carelessly scalded to death a rat and a monkey when the animals were left inside their cages while going through a cage washer.
  • At Charles River Laboratories—one of the largest labs in the country—a monkey was scalded to death when her cage was run through a high-temperature cage washer while she was still locked inside.
  • In 1996, Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center was cited for scalding a squirrel monkey to death by sending her through a boiling-hot automated cage washer. In 2010, three monkeys were in a cage that had been placed in a cage washer. Fortunately, they were noticed moments before it was turned on.
  • At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a family of three marmosets was found dead inside their nesting box after it was sent through a sanitation washer.
  • Even “prestigious” institutions are guilty of deadly neglect. Harvard Medical School, Princeton University, and Vanderbilt University have all been exposed for carelessly leaving animals inside cages and sending them to die in high-temperature, high-powered washers.

Inspecting a cage before sending it to be sanitized is the bare minimum of care, and if these abusers had an iota of compassion for animals, they would have done that. In the majority of cases, labs receive only a written warning from federal authorities when an animal dies in a cage washer accident. This means that the problem isn’t taken seriously and will continue.

This is what happens when animals are treated as if they’re nothing more than inanimate lab equipment.

As they were being maimed and burned to death inside power washers, these animals likely cried out for relief and looked for any escape—just as you or I would. Like humans, animals used in experiments are conscious, feeling beings who value their lives. They want to engage in their natural behavior, love their families, and avoid torment and confinement. And right now, they need our help.

Animals Are Dying From Gross Negligence—Please Take Action Now

Over 90 percent of the results from experiments on animals fail to lead to treatments for diseases in humans. Despite this, every year in the U.S., thousands of monkeys and other animals are imprisoned in laboratories, where they’re confined to tiny steel and concrete cells—often alone—and forced to endure excruciating experiments before being killed.

Use the form below to contact your representative and senators in Congress and respectfully urge them to work to end experiments on monkeys and to support humanelifesaving, and relevant non-animal research methods.

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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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind