Bold Street Art Project Places “Imprisoned” Baby Monkeys Across D.C.

Artist Spreads Message That NIH’s Maternal-Deprivation Experiments Are Unacceptable

For Immediate Release:
June 25, 2015

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


Look closely at the next metro stop, and you may spot picture of a tiny, mournful face peering out from behind prison bars, hands reaching toward freedom. Renowned street artist Dan Witz is claiming credit for an art campaign that is spread heartbreaking images across the city to draw attention to the plight of baby monkeys subjected to cruel psychological experiments at NIH.

As documented by a PETA video exposé, monkeys at NIH are bred to be predisposed to depression, separated from their mothers within hours of birth, isolated in tiny cages, and subjected to terrifying experiments.

Witz’s project—which he calls “Actual Victims” and is posting online with the hashtag #ActualVictims—includes paintings that he created from photos of individual monkeys imprisoned at NIH for these much-criticized experiments.

“Tearing baby monkeys away from their mothers and exiling them from the company of other monkeys in order to inflict stress, loneliness, and trauma has no place in the 21st century,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “PETA is excited to see this striking artwork throughout the city, highlighting the true cost of the experiments to these vulnerable animals.”

Witz began painting hummingbirds on walls in downtown Manhattan in the late 1970s, years before the phrase “street art” had even been coined and decades before the likes of Banksy and Shepard Fairey became household names. Witz was recently named one of the 50 greatest street artists working right now.

Members of Congress, Dr. Jane Goodall, Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell celebrity psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman, conservative strategist Mary Matalin, and hundreds of thousands of citizens have called for an end to these cruel experiments. In response, NIH has discontinued stressful brain scans, painful spinal taps, and some blood draws on newborn monkeys and is working on other measures to strengthen oversight of this and other projects.

Photographs of the street art that Witz set up around Washington, D.C., are available here.

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