Add this one to the file of unbelievable experiments on animals that your tax dollars paid for. The National Institutes of Health funded an experiment at the University of Wisconsin in which experimenters studied marmoset monkeys to determine whether it’s beneficial for children to have a good father. Their findings weren’t exactly earth shattering.
Experimenters, using marmoset families held captive in one of the university’s laboratories, played recorded infant alarm calls to the fathers. They studied the health of young marmosets to determine whether the babies with dads who immediately responded to the infants’ cries were healthier than those with dads who didn’t. Shock of all shocks, babies with attentive fathers were healthier.
What actually is surprising is that these experimenters admitted that their findings are pretty obvious. In their paper on the study, they wrote, “The concept that fathers are important in the survival and wellbeing of their offspring is not novel.” Well, no sh*t, Sherlock.
The experimenters went on, of course, to try to justify spending taxpayers’ money and holding animals captive. They presented a feeble claim of the study’s applicability to humans:
The use of infant distress calls as an indicator of father’s motivation to parent has been used not only for marmoset fathers but also for humans. … Variations in fathers’ attentiveness to their offspring is high both in marmoset and human fathers, highlighting the importance of understanding the neurobiology of optimal paternal responses to cries in cooperative breeding, biparental care species.
So in summation, it benefits kids if their dads are good to them. Riveting.
In nature, these marmosets would be living in rich forests, bounding swiftly through the trees, surrounded by family groups that span three generations. Instead, these sensitive and intelligent animals are being held in metal and concrete cells and deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them. If the applicability of the results to humans is used as a justification for these curiosity-driven experiments, it’s time for experimenters to stop the hypocrisy and extend the same ethical standards used for humans who are unable to give explicit consent to all sentient beings.
Tell Congress to stop wasting your money on useless experiments like this one that require imprisoning and harming animals.