It’s a question that has (not) vexed humanity as long as recorded history itself: Do monkeys think cartoons have feelings?
Elisabeth Murray, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) reigning queen of monkey torture, has taken on this not-so-burning question in her newest experiment, using some of the nearly $50 million in taxpayer money granted to her by the agency to try to figure it out.
In the category of “we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried,” Murray has tested the rhesus macaques in her laboratory to see if they, like humans, ascribe feelings to animated shapes. Would these caged monkeys—who haven’t been outside a laboratory a day in their lives and who can only hope to have several contiguous hours without pain—see shapes bumping into each other as “fighting” or, perhaps, “mocking”?
Along with other inquiries into emotion, it’s a question that Murray has mucked about with since 2007. That’s 14 years, if you’re counting. She’s been given an average of $1.3 million a year for this nonsense. For comparison, the median annual household income in 2019 was just over $68,000—which means that Murray, on average, raked in 95% more money than half of all American households existed on for an entire year, all so that she could show cartoons to caged macaques and torment monkeys in other ways.
Murray recently published a paper on her findings. Not to give anything away, but here’s the answer to her question: Nah.
As with Murray’s other animal experiments, this one involved torment. It was anything but fun and games for the monkeys forced to participate. They were deprived of water, strapped into a chair specifically designed to immobilize their heads and bodies, and forced to watch videos of moving shapes as experimenters monitored their eye movements. Experimenters judiciously doled out mere drops of juice if—and only if—the monkeys looked at certain points on the screen.
While the premise of the experiment is ridiculous and the results are clearly and predictably irrelevant, this is also yet another in a series of disturbing ways to torment monkeys cooked up by a profit-hungry woman who has continuously failed to advance science in any way, all while abusing and killing monkeys for decades.
Let’s not forget that Murray is responsible for the monkey fright experiments in which she saws open monkey’s skulls, scrambles their brains, and forces them into a small cage where she deliberately provokes their worst fears. PETA recently obtained never-before-seen video footage of these horrific experiments, which have produced no benefit for humans whatsoever.
NIH throws taxpayer money at Murray’s laboratory hand over fist, even though not one treatment or cure for humans has come out of it in 30 years. This latest revelation keeps her shameful losing streak alive. Please take a moment to help stop her from continuing to torment more monkeys: