Attacked and Starved: Bloated Merck Fails Monkey—PETA Statement

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Rahway, N.J. – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel regarding recent critical violations of animal welfare regulations at Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC documented in an inspection report filed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

It’s difficult to have confidence in pharmaceutical giant Merck’s drug development when the company can’t even remember to feed the monkeys it exploits in its laboratories. According to a just-posted federal inspection report obtained by PETA, 52 monkeys held in cages in one room at Merck weren’t fed for a full day. Confinement to laboratories ravages these intelligent, highly social monkeys. Held in small, barren steel cages and often caged alone, they have no opportunity to exercise control over their own lives. In these conditions of extreme impoverishment and deprivation, one should expect that monkeys could at least rely on the regular delivery of dry biscuits. Everything has been taken from these animals—the psychological and physiological devastation is manifested in and on their bodies.

The company was also cited for failing to ensure safe housing for monkeys. A “rhesus macaque sustained severe injuries” from another monkey in an adjacent cage after workers failed to notice that the divider between the two cages wasn’t properly secured.

Last year, Merck posted more than $48 billion in revenue while using 1,911 guinea pigs, 1,426 rabbits, 878 monkeys (including species now listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature), 502 hamsters, and 429 dogs, and thousands of other animals in cruel and deadly experiments. But somehow, this bloated corporation can’t ensure that the monkeys on whose backs it turns profits are fed or safe. Merck should modernize its research program by leaving cruel and archaic experiments on animals behind and using only sophisticated, human-relevant research methods instead.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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