Getting Away With Murder: New PETA Campaign Takes On Experimenters

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3 min read

“If You Call It ‘Medical Research,’ You Can Get Away With Murder”

Every day, primates are electroshocked, poisoned, cut open, and killed by experimenters at seven federally funded national primate research centers. And your tax dollars are paying for it. To shine a light on these abusive and deadly experiments and their extremely high failure rate, PETA is launching a new ad campaign aimed at—for starters—the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University near Atlanta, where nearly 4,000 primates are imprisoned for use in cruel and deadly experiments.

Like all the primate centers, Yerkes has a history of violating animal-protection laws and regulations. According to records dating back to 1997, primates there have died as a result of negligence or inadequately trained personnel—from starvation, strangulation, suffocation, heatstroke, pneumonia, asphyxiation from their own vomit, self-mutilation, being run through a scalding-hot cage washer, painful abscesses all over the body, severe pulmonary emphysema resulting from an improperly connected anesthesia apparatus, seizures, unsafe housing and handling, fighting and attacks, dermatitis, trauma and shock, sepsis, bleeding and swelling of the brain, diabetes, necrotic gut, wounds, blood in the lungs, hepatitis, and abdominal problems—as well as for “unknown reasons.”

One monkey died when gauze was left in his abdomen during experimental surgery. Another died after being forgotten in an unattended cage, and a young monkey had to be euthanized after a rubber band that had been put on for a tattooing procedure became embedded in his wrist. Yerkes is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In one ongoing experiment at Yerkes, experimenters tore 24 infant monkeys away from their mothers’ chests and placed a mask over their faces to force the babies to inhale aerosolized oxytocin or a placebo. They were placed in a small testing chamber with their anesthetized mothers. In the chamber, experimenters used a machine to track the young monkeys’ eye movements as they watched a screen that was displaying videos of monkeys showing aggressive behavior. This is meant to be a study of autism—a condition that doesn’t affect monkeys. More than $2 million in taxpayer money has already been wasted on this cruelty.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards $1.6 billion to the institutions with which Yerkes and the other six primate research centers are affiliated—even though studies show that the results of 90 percent of animal studies don’t lead to therapies for humans. In 2017, Yerkes received nearly $80 million in grants from NIH and tens of millions more for operating costs.

You Can Help End This

Please urge your congressional representatives to cut NIH’s budget and mandate that the agency stop throwing away taxpayer funds on cruel, useless animal experiments and instead focus on modern, non-animal research methods.

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