Suspend All Experiments, Group Says; Monkeys' Exposure to Virus Would Affect Future Experiments
For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Wilmington, Mass. – 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 Charles River Laboratories 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—Charles River 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, Charles River—the world’s largest breeder of animals for use in experiments—received more than $11 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health. The laboratory has an appalling history of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including the following: Thirty-two monkeys were baked alive after a thermostat malfunctioned and no one noticed, and a monkey was scalded to death when her cage was run through a high-temperature cage washer while she was still locked inside.
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.
PETA’s letter to Charles River is available here.