Science Suffers as NIH Funds Scofflaw Monkey Supplier for Dubious Tests

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3 min read

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) uses your tax dollars to buy monkeys from Alpha Genesis Inc. (AGI), a South Carolina company so galactically incompetent that even consequence-averse federal authorities were forced to issue it fines in excess of $12,000 because staff there can’t seem to meet even the barest minimum standards of animal care.

NIH has also given some of these monkeys to its own Elisabeth Murray, an experimenter whose tests are so monstrous and scientifically questionable that even her peers cast doubt on them.

If all this sounds bad, that’s because it is. It’s truly a perfect storm of cruelty.

As PETA’s exposé first revealed, Murray has spent the past 40 years—and more than $50 million in taxpayer funds—deliberately damaging monkeys’ brains and subjecting the animals to crude and terrifying behavioral tests, including scaring them with realistic-looking plastic snakes and spiders. Her abominable experiments, video footage of which depicts a veritable monkey fright night, have not led to a single new treatment or cure for humans in four decades.

Federal records obtained by PETA document that some of the monkeys now in Murray’s laboratory were purchased from AGI despite its pockmarked record of animal care and safety. Conditions for monkeys are so bad at AGI that in 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—an agency notoriously lenient toward those who violate animal welfare laws—took a rare step when it fined the company $12,600 for numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

But things haven’t improved at AGI, where monkeys regularly escape from their cages and other enclosures, sustain serious injuries, or die due to staff negligence and incompetence:

  • A monkey whom staff had left outside froze to death in temperatures that dipped to 9 degrees.
  • Two macaques nearly died of thirst because it took staff a week to notice that their water line had been turned off.
  • A monkey died from neglect in an area that staff thought was empty.
  • Inspectors found dead cockroaches outside the animals’ cage, and inside there was a layer of feces and standing water.
  • Three monkeys died due to cold stress after sedation procedures.
  • Neglectful staff put animals in the wrong enclosures six times in eight months. Following one incident, a monkey died from trauma caused by other monkeys in the enclosure, and four others required medical treatment. On another occasion, a monkey was beaten to death by other monkeys. And in yet another incident, two monkeys died after their fingers became trapped in structures in their enclosures—which no one noticed.
  • Three groups of monkeys opened panels between their cages and fought, after which three of the animals required medical treatment.

When staff members aren’t endangering monkeys through neglect and negligence, they’re letting them loose. One monkey who escaped eight years ago is still missing, according to federal documents.

We’re all for emptying the cages, but the monkeys should go to sanctuaries, not risk injury and death due to the negligence of incompetent staff.

Between January and August 2020, there were six incidents in which monkeys opened or escaped from their enclosures. Two groups of monkeys—one of seven and another of four—escaped through weak chain-link fences. Other escapes include the following:

  • Twenty-six monkeys escaped from their enclosure after staff failed to ensure that its locks were secured, resulting in the amputation of one animal’s finger.
  • A monkey escaped into the woods from a transport cage while being moved to the medical clinic. The animal is still missing.
  • Two monkeys escaped from an outdoor chain-link enclosure. One of them was shot with a tranquilizer gun, sustained internal injuries, and died.
  • A monkey escaped from an enclosure because staff used a clip instead of a lock to secure it.

Bottom line: NIH is conducting ethically corrupt experiments on sensitive beings purchased with your tax money from a company with a years-long rap sheet of flagrant negligence and incompetence. This is no way to seek scientific truth. It’s a cruel boondoggle.

The monkeys transferred from the frying pan of AGI into the fire of Murray’s laboratory endure unrelenting suffering and misery. AGI has built a business on their dead bodies, and Murray has made a career conning the public into believing that her experiments are somehow important or relevant. NIH must stop doing business with AGI immediately, and it must pull the plug on Murray’s experiments.

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