Suspend All Experiments, Group Says; Monkeys' Exposure to Virus Will Affect Future Experiments
For Immediate Release:
April 21, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Davis, Calif. – 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 federally funded California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) to suspend all experiments and provide documentation that the monkeys housed there, as well as its staff, have not been exposed to or infected with the coronavirus. 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.
“We are deeply concerned that in the face of a global pandemic—the very reason that primate experimenters claim to need to cage and maintain 100,000-plus primates in laboratories— CNPRC may not be able to show that the monkeys it imprisons and the humans it employs haven’t been exposed to COVID-19,” says PETA veterinarian Dr. Ingrid Taylor.
In 2019, CNPRC received more than $12 million in funding for basic operations from the National Institutes of Health and millions more in research grants. The facility has been repeatedly cited for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including for workers who failed to handle monkeys humanely, resulting in injury and death; monkeys who escaped from their enclosures because of staff inattention—and died from subsequent injuries — and an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee that has repeatedly failed to review proposed experiments adequately and has left the animals completely vulnerable to incompetence, neglect, and rogue experimenters.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.