Dr. Biruté Galdikas Condemns NIH ‘Monkey Fright’ Experiments in New PETA Ad

For Immediate Release:
August 23, 2021

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Md. – “The Government Is Monkeying Around With Your Tax Dollars.” That’s the message on a new ad appearing in today’s Washington Post, in which primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, the world’s foremost orangutan expert, condemns National Institutes of Health (NIH) experimenter Elisabeth Murray’s painful, traumatizing, deadly experiments on monkeys. The ad was sponsored by PETA.

“[In these experiments, monkeys] are harmed, kept in totally barren environments, tortured with surgically and chemically inflicted brain lesions to see how they react to threats such as rubber snakes,” writes Galdikas. “The world has marched on and left unimaginative repetitive studies of no particular value, like these, behind in the dust.“

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 coerce them to cooperate, and terrorizes them with realistic-looking snakes and spiders. Other times, she places them in front of a “neutral junk object” like the iron seen in the ad. She has received nearly $50 million in taxpayer funding since 1998 for these experiments, and she hasn’t produced a single treatment or cure for humans.

Galdikas, Jane Goodall, and the late Dian Fossey make up the trio of primatologists (nicknamed the “Trimates”) selected by anthropologist Louis Leakey to study great apes in their natural homes. Galdikas splits her time between Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and Indonesia, where she has studied orangutans in their natural environment since the 1970s. She is a recipient of Indonesia’s Kalpataru (Hero of the Earth) award, the country’s highest accolade for environmental service.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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