Update: The Lehman monkeys—Wanda, Holly, Jada, Sophie, Samantha, and Lilly—have all arrived safely at a sanctuary and are currently living together as a group. In a little while, they’ll be integrated into a larger group of macaques at the sanctuary. Hooray!
Last month, a whistleblower contacted PETA to tell us that six monkeys who were about to be retired to a sanctuary from City University of New York’s Lehman College had instead been sold to New York University for invasive neurological experiments.
The monkeys had originally been used in non-invasive learning and memory experiments in an NIH-funded laboratory overseen by one Dr. Karyl Swartz, who drew up a plan and set aside funds for the monkeys to live out the rest of their lives at a primate sanctuary. Enter the villain of this particular story, a lady named Christina Winnicker, who evidently objected to the plan and asked the experimental oversight committee to keep or sell the monkeys for further experimentation, despite the strong objections of Dr. Swartz and her colleagues. As a result, the monkeys were sold to an NYU laboratory for experiments that would likely have involved removing the tops of their skulls and implanting electrodes in their heads.
Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed from the title here, this one has a happy ending: After asking some pointed questions of both institutions, we received confirmation last week that Lehman College had thought better of their decision to sell these animals to NYU where they may have had their brains butchered. They’re now working with NYU to get them transferred to a sanctuary instead.
Which certainly brightened my day a bit.
Wanda and Jada, before being transferred from the Lehman laboratory.