Massive ‘Spider’ at Washington Monument Outs Government Monkey Fright Experiments

PETA Exhibit Traces Dark History of Animal Exploitation in Laboratories

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Washington – Starting Wednesday, passersby around the Washington Monument are in for a shock. A gigantic “spider” will take over the lawn to represent the realistic-looking fake spiders that National Institutes of Health experimenter Elisabeth Murray uses to torment brain-damaged monkeys in her notorious monkey fright tests—alongside PETA’s new “Without Consent” exhibit, which explores the shameful, sordid history of using animals in painful experiments from the 1920s to the present day.

“Scaring brain-damaged monkeys with fake spiders is just one horrific way experimenters terrorize other animals because they can,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA’s exhibit drags their dirty deeds out of the shadows and points out that having the power to exploit others doesn’t give us the right to do so.”

In addition to criticizing Murray’s experiments, the exhibit documents the horrific work of experimenters who deafened cats and cut their spines, electroshocked dogs so many times that they gave up trying to escape, and took infant monkeys away from their mothers and raised them alone in what they called a “pit of despair.” The exhibit contends that just as society now understands that past experiments on vulnerable humans were wrong, a similar moral awakening should prompt us to extend consideration to other nonconsenting sentient beings today.

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

The exhibit is located at the intersection of Jefferson Dr. S.W. and Raoul Wallenberg Pl. S.W., and will be up from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day through Tuesday, September 7. The “spider” will be on display through Thursday, August 19. An interactive virtual exhibit is available here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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