Updates: Campaign to Shut Down University of Washington’s Primate Center

For nearly 60 years, the failing, archaic, disease-ridden Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at the University of Washington has tormented thousands of monkeys in painful experiments that have failed to improve human health. PETA is calling for the immediate closure of the facility—and you can help.

Dorothy the ‘Monkey’ Drops By Board of Regents’ Office to Demand Closure of UW’s Primate Prison

September 16, 2021

Monkeys trapped in UW’s secretive underground laboratory can’t pay a visit to university administrators to demand their freedom—but Dorothy can. The plucky “primate” stopped by the Office of the Board of Regents to urge board members to shut down the school’s shameful monkey torture chamber.

Person in Dorothy primate costume at University of Washington


Larger-Than-Life ‘Monkey’ Turns Heads on UW Campus

August 18, 2021

Prospective students touring UW’s tree-lined campus were greeted by the unexpected sight of PETA’s giant “monkey” mascot, Dorothy, whose real-life namesake, like thousands of others, was imprisoned for years in UW’s secretive primate center while her body and spirit deteriorated. Dorothy the mascot was accompanied on her first public outing by activists from the Northwest Animal Rights Network, who handed out informative literature to curious passersby.

peta demonstration on university of washington campus with monkey mascot


Monkey Defenders Plaster Posters Across UW Dean’s Neighborhood

August 6, 2021

Activists bedecked trees and signposts in UW School of Pharmacy Dean Sean Sullivan’s neighborhood with a message in behalf of monkeys imprisoned, cut open, restrained, tormented, and killed at the WaNPRC.

Poster calling for an end to funding for uw primate center


Video: UW, Monkeys Belong in Nature, Not a Laboratory

July 19, 2021

This video says it all: While their free counterparts in nature spend their days grooming one another, devouring delicious fruits and seeds, and exploring new territories, stressed and frustrated rhesus macaques at the University of Washington turn in endless circles, desperately shake the bars of their cages, and even rip out their own hair.


USDA Rejects UW’s Attempt to Cover Up Dangerous Monkey-Escape Violations

July 9, 2021

Stating that the school’s long and sordid history of offenses was “not indicative of a facility that is demonstrating success at preventing critical animal welfare issues,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rejected UW’s brazen 54-page appeal to get recent citations for critical violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act erased. Among these was a citation for an incident in which WaNPRC staff failed to notice that a pigtail macaque went missing for up to two days—she was found dehydrated, having had no access to food or water. PETA had uncovered this violation in documents obtained through an open records request and filed a complaint with the USDA about it in September 2020.


With a Protest and Papier-Mâché, Activists Send UW a Graduation Day Message for Monkeys

June 12, 2021

Carting a larger-than-life monkey statue bearing the signatures of more than 236,000 concerned PETA supporters, protesters descended on UW’s Red Square on the day of the school’s virtual graduation ceremony to urge the university to close its pit of primate despair. After spreading their message to the hundreds of graduates and their families snapping photos around campus, the activists and their papier-mâché primate headed to the home of UW Dean Sean Sullivan to continue the peaceful demonstration.

Protest at University of Washington


Former WaNPRC Employee: ‘Monkeys Are Not the Pathway to Human Health’

June 6, 2021

Calling on the University of Washington to follow the lead of Harvard University and shut down its failing primate center, primatologist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel explains in the The Seattle Times why she felt compelled to leave her position at the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) to advocate for the monkeys whose suffering she had witnessed firsthand. “I have looked into the eyes of the monkeys, and I have seen what it does to their bodies to be confined for years to a metal cage that is no bigger than a kitchen cabinet,” she writes, noting that monkeys at the WaNPRC have died from strangulation, dehydration, choking on their own vomit, and more.

advertorial in the Seattle Times


‘The Sopranos’ Star Edie Falco Slams the WaNPRC in Straight-Shooting Radio Ad

May 31, 2021

Seattleites tuning in to KOMO NewsRadio got a news flash from The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco about the University of Washington’s secret underground monkey-torture chamber. “Monkeys continue to die … [a]nd you are paying for it,” says Falco, urging listeners to take action to shut down the wretched facility, which has racked up multiple violations of federal animal welfare laws during its six decades of operation.


R.I.P.: PETA’s Graveyard Memorializes 9,000 Monkeys Who Suffered and Died at the WaNPRC

April 8, 2021

PETA’s somber display of 90 tombstones—each one representing 100 of the 9,000 monkeys killed at the Washington National Primate Research Center over the last 60 years—blanketed the hill concealing the barren underground facility where monkeys trapped inside cramped cages pace endlessly, bite at their own limbs, and tear out their own hair in distress.

PETA Protest at Washington National Primate Research Center


PETA Calls On UW to Retract ‘Knowingly False’ Statement Taking Credit for Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine

February 25, 2021

After PETA told federal officials that the chair of the University of Washington’s (UW) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) had made the dishonest claim that a Washington National Primate Research Center experimenter’s tests on pigtail macaques were directly responsible for the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity contacted the university about the statement, which it called “knowingly false.” In an e-mail obtained by PETA, the agency told UW that while this did not constitute research fraud, UW could take “any administrative actions” internally. PETA is calling on UW to retract the statement publicly and to remove any individuals involved from their positions.


Monkeys Die From Choking and Heart Attack at University of Washington

February 16, 2021

It’s tough to imagine that the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at the University of Washington (UW) could top its record for appalling deaths: Monkeys there have died of strangulation, starvation, dehydration, and veterinary error.

PETA has just learned that experimenter Chuck Murry removed an elderly 15-year-old monkey from the breeding colony and stuck her in his laboratory. Her reward for years of giving birth and watching her babies be taken from her one by one? Murry induced a heart attack in her. Days later, she was dead.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this abuse. A federal report obtained by PETA reveals that arrogance and impatience apparently led to the death of a monkey who had been used in an experimental surgery. He hadn’t been fasted the night before, as he should have been, and rather than following standard operating procedures, Murry refused to wait or reschedule. The monkey went into respiratory arrest, vomited undigested food while a tube was thrust down his throat and he was given CPR, went into respiratory arrest again, and then died.

In 2020, Murry—now a “Core Staff Scientist” at the WaNPRC—received more than $3.1 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cause heart attacks in young and elderly monkeys. The WaNPRC has repeatedly demonstrated that it can’t—or won’t—comply with legally required minimum animal welfare standards. It’s time for NIH to take definitive action and stop wasting taxpayer dollars by funding the abuse, neglect, and killing of monkeys in worthless experiments at the WaNPRC. 

We are demanding that UW shut down its primate center and end its horrific animal tests. Take action now.


Seattle Billboard Urges UW to End Monkey Experiments, Embrace Better Research

January 26, 2021

PETA’s eye-catching billboard in Seattle—featuring the University of Washington’s colors and the wistful face of a monkey peering out from behind cage bars—urges the university to stop its tests on primates and switch to a better way of conducting research.

Primate Billboard in Seattle


Caged ‘Monkeys’ Call For Closure of UW’s Cruel Primate Center

January 14, 2021

Donning lifelike monkey masks, more than two dozen protesters—some of them confined to cramped, barren cages much like those in which monkeys at the WaNPRC spend their entire lives—chanted and held signs demanding the closure of UW’s underground primate laboratory. Just steps away from the protest, the more than 1,000 monkeys currently at the WaNPRC continue to be ripped away from their mothers, restrained for hours at a time, subjected to full-body irradiation, and more in painful experiments that don’t help humans.

PETA Protest for Primates at University of Washington


Activists Pepper University of Washington Campus With Posters for Monkeys

January 7, 2021

Monkeys at UW’s primate center have died from strangulation, choking on their own vomit, being mauled by other stressed animals, and more, as pointed out on PETA’s poster, which popped up at various locations on UW’s campus.

Primate Poster at University of Washington


Monkey-Masked Activists Bring Home PETA’s Call to Close the WaNPRC With Protest Outside UW Officials’ Houses

December 17, 2020

They say home is where the heart is—and activists wearing monkey masks urged the UW dean and the WaNPRC interim director to find theirs and close the cruel primate center, with a peaceful, silent, socially distanced protest at both of their homes. Monkeys at the WaNPRC spend their days and nights in barren metal cages, far away from their natural home in lush forests, grassy savannahs, or high mountains.


PETA’s Mobile Billboard Takes the Campaign to Close UW’s Primate Center to the Streets

November 27, 2020

PETA’s mobile billboard urging the University of Washington to shut down its cruel and archaic primate research center wheeled down Seattle streets and through busy strip mall parking lots on Black Friday.

A mobile billboard calling for the closure of the cruel primate research center at UW


With Gas Topper Ads, PETA Calls On UW to Stop Fueling Its Cruel Primate Research Center

November 20, 2020

PETA’s gas topper ads are spreading the word to drivers filling up their tanks: It’s time for the University of Washington to cut the gas to its cruel primate research center! The center’s barbaric experiments are fueled by millions of dollars of wasted taxpayer funds.

Gas station ad calling for the closure of the University of Washington primate research center


PETA Slams ‘Six Decades of Scientific Failure’ and Cruelty at the WaNPRC in Full-Page Ad

November 18, 2020

If the hundreds of monkeys used in grisly, money-wasting experiments every year at the Washington National Primate Research Center could speak English, they’d tell the University of Washington (UW) to “cut funding, not our skulls”—and PETA’s ad in the school’s student publication The Daily does just that. It urges UW to refocus its resources on human-relevant, 21st century science instead of barbaric and useless monkey experiments.


PETA Scientist Shares Why She Left the WaNPRC and Joined PETA’s Fight to End Primate Experimentation on The PETA Podcast

November 18, 2020

After spending 14 years working with primates at the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC), Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel found that she couldn’t continue in good conscience. In an episode of The PETA Podcast, she describes some of the transformative experiences that led her to become a senior scientist at PETA, where she now advocates for the closure of the WaNPRC and the six other national primate research centers.


PETA Unfurls Massive Banner Calling For Shutdown of University of Washington’s Primate Center

November 12, 2020

PETA’s bold 30-foot-long banner urging the University of Washington to shut down its cruel primate center grabbed the attention of passing motorists from overpasses in Seattle. The banner featured the face of a monkey just like the tens of thousands who have been imprisoned and tormented in cruel experiments at the facility.

Banner calling for the closure of the cruel primate research center at University of Washington


Footage Reveals ‘Dread, Despair, and Disease’ for Monkeys at Washington National Primate Research Center

November 12, 2020

Obtained via a public records request, never-before-seen footage released by PETA shows profoundly distressed monkeys pacing endlessly inside barren steel cages in dark and mostly underground rooms on the University of Washington’s campus and in a concrete building in downtown Seattle. Nearly 60 years of experiments on monkeys at the Washington National Primate Research Center on the UW campus have failed to produce any significant medical advances.


PETA Denounces Failing, Archaic, Disease-Ridden WaNPRC in Seattle Times Ad

November 7, 2020

In an arresting full-page ad in The Seattle Times, PETA exposes failures at the University of Washington’s primate center: “Public records show that the primate center is deep in debt, is hemorrhaging scientists and other staff, and, by its own admission, is unable to keep the monkeys healthy … Monkeys have died from strangulation, starvation, dehydration, choking on their own vomit, bleeding to death, and being mauled by other stressed animals.”


PETA Files Complaint With Feds Alleging Violations of Federal Animal Welfare Laws, Conflicts of Interest

September 2, 2020

PETA has submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture after uncovering evidence of Animal Welfare Act violations at the University of Washington’s primate center. It also alleges serious conflicts of interest on the university’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which is responsible for ensuring compliance with all animal protection laws in the institution’s laboratories. Read more.


PETA Exposes Incompetence and Negligence at the WaNPRC

June 25, 2020

In just the latest example of incompetence and negligence at the WaNPRC, a monkey imprisoned at the facility was somehow left locked in a trapping run. Two staff members noticed that the animal was missing but didn’t bother reporting the incident. The monkey went without food and water for as long as two days. Read more.


PETA Demands That the WaNPRC Be Transparent About COVID-19 in Workers and Monkeys

March 31, 2020

Humans aren’t the only primates who can be infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That’s why PETA is calling on the WaNPRC to suspend all experiments and to provide documentation that the 1,200 monkeys housed there, as well as its staff, have not been exposed to or infected with the virus. Because the virus affects monkeys differently from humans, they are not good “models” for studying the human form of the disease—and if any of the monkeys are infected, future studies involving them would be compromised. Read more.

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What You Can Do

Text* SEATTLE to 73822 and call 206-543-5010 or 206-543-2580 to urge the University of Washington to close down the WaNPRC and transfer the animals to sanctuaries.

*U.S. only. Message and data rates may apply. Periodic messaging. Text STOP to end or HELP for info. Full terms are at PETA.vg/txt.

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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