UMass Experimenters or Stormtroopers? Yoda the Marmoset’s Life and Death in a Lab 

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3 min read

A tiny marmoset monkey was born, we think, on April 2, 2012, but the records are fuzzy. What we know for sure is that she arrived in the laboratory of Agnès Lacreuse at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass) on December 15, 2015.

UMass experimenters named her after the Star Wars character “Yoda,” one of the last remaining Jedi knights who battled to free a galaxy from the clutches of an evil empire drunk on power and convinced of its own importance, tormenting and killing at will to maintain its position.

Irony deficiency runs strong at UMass.

Sad, Yoda’s Life Was

Unlike her namesake, Yoda the monkey was unable to avoid her tormenter and hide out on an abandoned swamp planet for centuries. Instead, she endured nearly five years of imprisonment, torment, and frequent solitary confinement before the UMass Empire decided she was no longer useful and killed her.

Yoda the marmoset struggles to grab a treat from a plastic container

The UMass Empire robbed Yoda of sunlight, trees, and everything else that made her life worth living. Lacreuse’s laboratory is no lush hideaway like Dagobah. It’s the ceaseless nothingness of Tatooine, with fluorescent lights and unyielding cage bars.

Yoda was poked, prodded, scraped, attacked, and injured. Her hair fell out from the stress of it all. What she endured was continuous, noisy, painful, and terrifying. The only release was death.

‘Luminous Beings Are We, Not This Crude Matter’

PETA obtained records that document some of the torment Yoda endured during her short life under the UMass Empire.

  • February 2016: UMass Imperial stormtroopers paired Yoda with another Star Wars–named marmoset, Skywalker.
  • October 2016: Yoda and Skywalker fought, likely out of frustration due to the laboratory’s unnatural conditions and their inability to escape. Yoda sustained several wounds on her face and a large gash on her nose that required glue to seal. Despite this altercation, stormtroopers again placed them together a few months later.
  • May 2017: Yoda escaped from her cage and fought with yet another Star Wars–named monkey, Padme, resulting in another injury to her hand. A few days later, stormtroopers noticed that Yoda had a long, fresh wound near her left eye.
  • November 2017: Yoda and Skywalker fought again. Yoda was placed in solitary confinement.
  • February 2018: Stormtroopers paired Yoda with Skywalker yet again. The two immediately fought.
  • October 2020: Stormtroopers killed Yoda.

A New Hope

In their natural habitat, sociable marmosets huddle together by the dozens in trees, forage for food, and frolic with their troopmates. That’s what was stolen from Yoda, all for pointless experiments that will never contribute anything of value to science.

Close up of a marmoset on a tree branch

For other monkeys, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Please take action by urging UMass officials to end cruel marmoset experiments:

Take Action for Marmosets
Marmoset in a tree

And if you’re a U.S. resident, please take an additional action for animals in UMass’ laboratories and beyond by supporting PETA’s Research Modernization Deal, which outlines a comprehensive strategy for replacing all experiments on animals with more effective, human-relevant, non-animal methods:

Support Animal-Free Science
Women scientists in a laboratory
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