MIT Experimenter Leaves Monkey in Restraint Chair for 18 Hours; PETA Files Complaint

For Immediate Release:
January 24, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Boston – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo regarding a just-posted inspection report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for serious violations of federal animal welfare regulations.

According to the report, a rhesus macaque was “restrained in a primate chair” for “an experimental session.” The experimenter failed to monitor the animal and “subsequently forgot that the session was running and left the facility for the evening.” The monkey’s plight wasn’t discovered until 8:30 the following morning.

The MIT experimenter and other staff who went home for the evening and forgot—for 18 hours—a monkey left in a restraint device should be fired immediately. There is no excuse for torturing an animal this way. Monkeys in restraint chairs are held fast by their neck and limbs, and it’s unfathomable that no one helped this animal between 2 p.m. and the end of the day. This disturbing incident reveals exactly how little consideration animal experimenters give to the animals they exploit. This monkey’s life and comfort were of no concern to the people who use him as though he were nothing more than an inanimate tool for experimentation.

MIT was also cited by the USDA in a September 20, 2022, inspection report, which documented that a monkey who was transported to a restraint chair with a metal collar around his neck sustained bruising around both eyes and his mouth due to improper handling. According to the report, laboratory personnel didn’t know how to handle the macaque and failed to notice the bruising. Last year, MIT received nearly $118 million from the National Institutes of Health—and about half that money was directed toward experiments on animals. The university must redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methods that actually help humans, and we urge officials there to adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Deal.

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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