PETA Calls For Federal Probe Into Menopause Experiments at UMass

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Update (February 12, 2024): Agnès Lacreuse’s laboratory at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass) has a lengthy rap sheet that keeps growing—and now the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken action following PETA’s complaint.

We obtained documents revealing that for the fourth time (that we know of), a marmoset imprisoned there escaped from a cage. In this latest instance of the lab’s incompetence, the animal got out of the cage because of a faulty latch. They roamed the room until an employee looked through a window in a door and noticed what was going on. After an undisclosed length of time, the marmoset was returned to the cage and all the marmosets were examined, revealing that one had been injured.

We urged the USDA to investigate this incident—which adds to a long list of previous animal welfare violations at the laboratory (which you can read more about below)—and the agency just cited UMass for its egregious violation.

Now it must act on our complaint calling for a federal probe of Lacreuse’s menopause experiments on marmosets for apparent violations of federal animal welfare regulations—and close down her lab.

Add your voice to ours! Take action below by telling the university that using marmosets in an attempt to study menopause in humans is both cruel and useless.

Originally published November 20, 2023, by Keith Brown.

PETA is turning up the heat on the experiments of University of Massachusetts–Amherst’s (UMass) Agnès Lacreuse by prodding federal authorities to investigate her pointless experiments on monkeys.

We’ve sent a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health detailing the numerous ways Lacreuse’s cruel menopause experiments on sensitive marmosets apparently violate federal animal welfare guidelines and regulations. We call on both agencies to act immediately to investigate these apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, end the experiments, and close Lacreuse’s laboratory.

The feds must be vigilant and ensure that  their own regulations are followed. As we point out in our letter, Lacreuse’s experiments appear to violate numerous regulations, including in the following ways:

  • They involve several major surgeries on monkeys without obtaining a reasonable scientific exemption to the limit of one per animal.
  • Lacreuse apparently downplays the severity of the monkeys’ suffering.
  • She apparently fails to consider non-animal alternatives before conducting painful tests.
  • They appear to have no scientific value.

Lacreuse torments sensitive marmosets in disturbing and painful ways in experiments that she claims shed light on menopause, which the tiny monkeys don’t even experience—so she attempts to replicate it. She surgically removes the marmosets’ ovaries and then uses hand warmers on the animals to mimic hot flashes.

If that seems ludicrous to you, that’s because it is.

Two marmosets in red hammock in cage looking at camera

Studies with human volunteers, as well as cutting-edge technologies such as stem cell models, three-dimensional cell culture models, and organs-on-chips, could replace Lacreuse’s experiments right now.

Instead, she and her staff screw electrodes into monkeys’ skulls, pump them full of hormones, restrain them with zip ties, deny them water, and subject them to fear- and stress-inducing behavioral tests and frequent social isolation. After eight to 10 years, experimenters kill and dissect them.

Other Horrors

UMass has a long history of animal welfare violations. Hamsters were found living in inches-deep waste, and experimenters failed to provide several hundred mice with required pain relief. Animals have drowned or starved to death in this torture chamber, and monkeys in the Lacreuse lab have not gone unharmed. One marmoset died after being badly burned with hand warmers, and many have escaped their prison confinement, resulting in injuries and at least one amputation.

What You Can Do

Lacreuse’s scientist cosplay has cost taxpayers $5 million and many marmosets their lives. It’s high time it stopped. Please join more than 135,000 supporters who have already called for an end to her experiments today:

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