Judge Gives DA Deadline to Act in Behalf of Monkey at Wisconsin National Primate Research Center

PETA Files Petition Calling For Criminal Charges That Would End Cruel Treatment of Primate Used for Breeding

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

A circuit court judge has given Dane County District Attorney Ismael R. Ozanne until September 28 to decide whether he will issue cruelty-to-animals charges in behalf of two monkeys at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Allegations stem from evidence revealed in an undercover investigation into the facility conducted by PETA, the results of which were presented to Ozanne. When his investigation stalled, PETA filed a petition arguing that there is probable cause to believe that cruel treatment of the monkeys by one or more WNPRC employees constituted a crime, as did their failure to provide the animals with adequate shelter.

When:    September 7–11, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where:  800 State St. (at the intersection of State Street and E. Campus Mall, on the southern perimeter of Library Mall), Madison

In May 2021, PETA asked Ozanne to intervene in behalf of an 11-year-old rhesus macaque named Cornelius, who was obviously depressed and had spent his entire life locked inside small, barren laboratory cages, often in solitary confinement and subjected to repeated electro-ejaculations for breeding purposes. Nearly a year later, Cornelius remained imprisoned at the WNPRC, with no charges filed, although—following the district attorney’s inquiry last year—he was finally moved out of solitary housing.

In August 2021, PETA asked that Ozanne also intervene in behalf of Princess, a 17-year-old rhesus macaque who had torn out much of the hair on her body—a form of self-mutilation indicative of extreme psychological distress. Following the district attorney’s inquiry, Princess was impregnated and then used in an experiment in which she and her fetus were killed.

“Cornelius’ situation is desperate, and we hope the court will take action to ensure that the university’s treatment of him will be investigated and those responsible for his suffering held accountable,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Additionally, those responsible for Princess’ years of suffering in wholly inadequate shelter should be held criminally accountable for maltreating her.”

PETA’s undercover investigator found Cornelius—known to experimenters only as #r10033—constantly hunched over or with his face pressed against the cage bars, which experts say signals mental anguish in monkeys. He was separated from his mother as an infant, and from the age of 5 until now—despite the social nature of macaques—he has mostly been caged alone. He’s just one of more than 2,000 monkeys confined to the facility’s small, barren steel cages. Although Wisconsin’s anti-cruelty statutes don’t apply to the treatment of animals during experiments, Cornelius endures grievous conditions of confinement that aren’t part of a bona fide experiment, meaning that the WNPRC’s mistreatment of him is covered by the state’s laws.

PETA notes that after 60 years, 16,000 dead monkeys, and $666 million in taxpayer funds, the WNPRC has produced zero cures for human diseases. The group asks that UW-Madison release Cornelius to a reputable sanctuary.

Because Cornelius and Princess are not the only monkeys who have suffered at the WNPRC, where experimenters have cut into monkeys’ skulls, injected toxic agents into their brains, sucked out their brain tissue, and killed them, PETA is bringing its free, eye-opening exhibit “Without Consent” to campus this week, just in time for the university’s first day of class.

On display for just five days, “Without Consent” links historical experiments on vulnerable humans—including orphans, immigrant women, soldiers, and impoverished Black men—to the troubled history of experiments on nonconsenting animals, via 24 panels bearing descriptions and photographs of nearly 200 tests conducted at U.S. institutions in recent decades.

For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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