Commencement Commotion: Monkey Torment to Be on Display at Harvard Ceremony

For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2023

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Cambridge, Mass. – Blindfolded PETA supporters will mark Harvard University’s commencement ceremonies on Thursday with a rally, holding photos of caged baby macaques and signs reading, “Harvard: Blind to Animal Suffering,” to demand that the university shut down experimenter Margaret Livingstone’s cruel and wasteful tests on infant monkeys.

When:    Thursday, May 25, 8:30 a.m.

Where:    Johnston Gate, Harvard Yard entrance at Peabody Street, Cambridge

Livingstone tears baby monkeys away from their mothers and cages them alone, forces them to wear vision-distorting goggles, refuses to let them see anyone’s face, and has even sewn their eyelids shut. She surgically implants electrodes in their brains and eventually kills and dissects them.

“Margaret Livingstone has been conducting barbaric experiments on baby monkeys and other animals for 40 years without producing any cures or treatments for human ailments,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe. “PETA is urging Harvard to shut down this perverse ‘research’ now and retire the survivors to a reputable sanctuary.”

Earlier this year, more than 380 experts, including primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, conservationist Dr. Ian Redmond, and Harvard anthropologist Dr. Richard Wrangham, joined Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic in urging the National Institutes of Health to end funding for Livingstone’s “cruel monkey experiments at Harvard Medical School.” That action followed a letter last September from 261 scientists around the world to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asking it to retract Livingstone’s publication, emphasizing that her work is unethical and noting that it fails to advance scientific knowledge.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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Media Response Team.


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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