PETA Calls For Investigation After UMass Fails to Report Marmoset Escape to Feds

Published by Danny Prater.

It’s a hot mess inside a laboratory conducting absurd hot flash experiments on animals! Records recently obtained by PETA reveal that staff at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass)—where experimenters purport to study age-related changes in human cognition associated with menopause using marmosets, who don’t even experience the condition—failed to meet even minimal animal welfare and care standards for monkeys held in the school’s laboratories. Some marmoset monkeys at UMass escaped restraints, and others were physically harmed as a result of employees’ improper handling. In addition, the school hid one of the violations from federal agencies, even though it’s required to report all of them.

Marmoset experiments at UMass

Records Reveal Injured Animals, Staff Failures in UMass Laboratories

On three occasions, marmosets at UMass escaped from transport boxes—twice leading to fights with other monkeys that left some animals injured. Notably, the university failed to report the first escape to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, as required by the government since it receives public funding. This means that the other two escapes may have been prevented had the school upheld its duties to animals and taxpayers by reporting the first one.

A handler injured the tail of one marmoset, who had escaped from a restraint device, so severely that it required amputation. Another marmoset was severely burned after experimenters left hot hand warmers on his body while he was recovering from surgery, leading to his death three days later.

Incidents detailed in the records obtained by PETA suggest a pattern of noncompliance with federal guidelines and a failure on the part of UMass to be transparent about violations in its facilities. As a result of our findings, we’re urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and the associated animal welfare regulations at the university.

What You Can Do for Monkeys in UMass Labs

UMass has demonstrated that it cannot properly handle the marmosets in its laboratories, threatening all the monkeys in its facility as well as its staff members. It shouldn’t be challenging for UMass staff to remember to feed animals, give them water, administer the correct dosage of a medication, or provide pain relief when needed, yet records show that violations keep piling up at the school.

PETA is urging the university to ditch crude and painful tests on marmosets—and you can help.

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 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