The Government’s Other Secretive Torture Program

Published by Alisa Mullins.

In response to reports that the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) torture program was inspired by cruel experiments on animals, PETA placed this ad today in the congressional-insider newspaper, The Hill, to call attention to a government torture program that is still going on:

PETA Ad: The Government's Other Secret Torture Program

In the 1960s, experimenters tortured dogs in so-called “learned helplessness” experiments in which the dogs were subjected to inescapable electric shocks. The dogs eventually gave up and did nothing to avoid the painful shocks, even when they had the chance to escape, hence the term “learned helplessness.” This theory was the genesis of the CIA’s torture program, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recently released report.

Although President Barack Obama has declared the CIA’s torture program over, torturous government experiments on animals continue.

At the same time that the CIA was tormenting detainees, another government agency—the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—was (and still is) subjecting baby monkeys to psychological torture. In experiments eerily reminiscent of CIA “interrogation” techniques, newborn monkeys are locked alone for years in small metal cages to cause them emotional distress and are sometimes restrained inside tiny cages and placed in “startle chambers.” The experimenters then deliberately scare them with loud noises, causing them to cry out and try futilely to hide or escape. In some tests, the experimenters even release an electronic snake into the cage with the baby monkeys, who innately fear reptiles.

The Senate committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program found that not only were the agency’s techniques cruel, they also didn’t help us learn about past or impending terror attacks. Similarly, these experiments on baby monkeys haven’t produced any data applicable to the treatment of human psychological trauma or other conditions. Torturing helpless infants simply proves one thing that isn’t a secret at all: Babies need their mothers.

What You Can Do

Please contact the NIH and ask them to end the government’s other torture program.

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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