PETA Alerts University to Biosecurity Risk, Calls For Stop to Monkey Imports
For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2021
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Baltimore – Following reports this week that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched an investigation into the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at the University of Washington for apparently failing to keep monkeys free from disease, PETA this morning asked Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to stop buying and using monkeys from the WaNPRC and to retract any published papers from studies using potentially infected monkeys. JHU experimenters use pigtailed macaque monkeys obtained from the WaNPRC.
NIH’s investigation follows a PETA complaint and a scathing exposé in The Arizona Republic that revealed that monkeys at the WaNPRC and its breeding facility in Mesa, Arizona, have been exposed to and contracted Valley fever, an infection that killed many monkeys. Monkeys that survive the infection have damaged immune systems. The WaNPRC sent exposed monkeys to various experimenters across the country. Studies show that experiments on monkeys infected with this pathogen do not yield accurate results. As recently as August 2021, a JHU experimenter co-authored a COVID-19 paper on a study that used monkeys from the WaNPRC.
“Johns Hopkins, already facing criticism for its cruel owl experiments, houses the second-largest colony of pigtailed macaque monkeys in the country—and the monkeys may harbor viruses that make research meaningless,” says PETA primate scientist and former WaNPRC researcher Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “Unintended infections also threaten public health and safety, waste millions of taxpayer dollars, and cause immense animal suffering, so PETA is urging an end to these dangerous monkey imports and tests.”
The Arizona Republic also revealed that the WaNPRC violated animal health and importation regulations, operated its Arizona breeding facility without state oversight, and has been repeatedly cited for multiple violations of animal welfare laws—all while breeding monkeys next to a toxic waste site.
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.