Hell for Monkeys: PETA TV Blitz to Expose Local Macaque-Breeding Compound

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


“A toxic facility and a threat to public health.” That’s how PETA describes the University of Washington’s (UW) Mesa macaque-breeding facility in a new TV spot airing this week on KNXV ABC 15 and KSAZ FOX 10.

The video draws on a scathing seven-month exposé by The Arizona Republic, which revealed that UW’s Mesa breeding facility and its federally funded Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) on the UW campus in Seattle have sent diseased monkeys to laboratories across the country, violated animal health and import regulations, operated without state oversight, and failed to prevent the introduction and spread of deadly diseases among monkeys that could then spill over into wildlife, companion animal, and human populations. The breeding compound is also located near a toxic waste site, and lead and other contaminants have leached into the soil and groundwater there.

The WaNPRC has also been cited for multiple serious violations of federal animal protection law, and during one eight-month period, the facility treated a staggering 332 traumatic injuries in monkeys. Its current director, Michele Basso, is one of the few university experimenters ever to have been suspended from using animals as a result of multiple serious welfare violations.

“Monkeys imprisoned at the Mesa facility have been mauled or died convulsing from untreated infections, and infants too sick to nurse or cling to their mothers have been found on the bottoms of the enclosures,” says PETA scientist and former WaNPRC researcher Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “PETA is calling on everyone to ask their elected representatives to stop funding UW’s cruel monkey-breeding colony.”

Pathology reports uncovered by PETA scientists show that at the breeding center, multiple unintended infectious agents—including Trypanosoma cruzi (which causes Chagas disease), Coccidioides spp. (which causes Valley fever), campylobacter, Shigella spp., salmonella, Mycobacterium spp. (which causes tuberculosis), and cholera—have been documented. But because the breeding center is located on tribal land rather than state land, UW has dodged all the usual state requirements for reporting zoonotic diseases. Accordingly, PETA has called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to shut down both the WaNPRC and the Mesa breeding center.

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

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