Best-Selling Author, Animal Expert Joins PETA in Condemning NIH Monkey Fright Tests

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Md. Sy Montgomery, renowned animal behaviorist and best-selling author of numerous books, including The Good Good Pig, is urging Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to end the government’s brain-damage experiments on monkeys.

In a letter to Collins, Montgomery points out that NIH experimenter Elisabeth Murray cuts into monkeys’ heads and injects toxins into their brains, surgically implants “head posts” directly into their skulls to keep their heads stock-still for hours, deprives them of food and water to force them to cooperate, and terrorizes them with realistic-looking snakes and spiders. Her studies haven’t produced or led to treatments or cures for humans.

“I am shocked that this egregious cruelty is occurring at the nation’s premier biomedical research agency,” writes Montgomery. “Just as [Jane] Goodall discovered that the key to meaningful data about the primates she studied was meeting them on their own terms, I find it difficult to believe that any significant findings—about macaques or humans—could come from housing primates in such an artificial, impoverished environment.”

Her full letter is available here.

Called “part Indiana Jones and part Emily Dickinson” by The Boston Globe, Montgomery is the author of 28 books for adults and children. She is the winner of the New England Independent Booksellers Association Nonfiction Award, the Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the ASPCA’s Henry Bergh Award for Nonfiction, and dozens of other honors. Montgomery joins a coalition of scientists, medical doctors, primatologists, and other experts who have condemned Murray’s experiments.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, 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