Latest Incident of Cruelty to Monkeys Prompts PETA Complaint and Call to Retire Them to a Sanctuary

Latest Incident of Cruelty to Monkeys Prompts PETA Complaint and Call to Retire Them to a Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:
July 21, 2014

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Princeton, N.J. – PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate Princeton University yet again, after laboratory employees tormented a small, fragile marmoset for “fun,” as detailed in a whistleblower’s report.

In federal complaints filed today, PETA describes a June 2014 incident in which laboratory employees reportedly placed at least one marmoset—a type of animal that is very easily stressed when handled—in a plastic exercise ball designed for ferrets and rolled the ball through the corridors of the laboratory for their own amusement, certainly terrifying the little primate and putting him at risk of injury. PETA has obtained an internal memo confirming the incident.

PETA wants the USDA to fine the university—which has a long history of mistreating marmosets and other animals, in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—and is calling on Princeton to retire the marmosets to an accredited sanctuary, where they can live outdoors in social groups in a semi-natural environment.

In this laboratory, marmosets, who in nature live in rich forests in social groups composed of up to three generations of family members, are confined to small cages and used in a much-criticized experiment to gather information on how animals coordinate their vocalizations—something that could easily be studied in monkeys in the wild or a sanctuary.

Since 2009, Princeton has been cited for 23 AWA violations, including for an incident in which a marmoset escaped from his cage and was injured and one in which the university failed to provide a pregnant marmoset, who was in distress and ready to give birth, with adequate veterinary care. Her newborn ultimately died.

“As if treating wild monkeys like disposable laboratory equipment weren’t bad enough, Princeton employees are now having a lark at the expense of these sensitive animals, who have no business being locked up in Princeton’s primate prison in the first place,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “Enough’s enough, and we are asking Princeton to send the marmosets to an accredited sanctuary and to punish anyone caught abusing animals.”

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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