Mobile Video Billboard to Circle NIH Revealing Agency’s Nightmarish ‘Monkey Terror’ Tests

Mobile Video Billboard to Circle NIH Revealing Agency's Nightmarish 'Monkey Terror' Tests

For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2020

Amanda Tumbleson 202-483-7382

Washington – Today, a mobile billboard showing video footage of monkeys terrorized in a government laboratory will circle the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and the nearby neighborhoods where NIH Director Francis Collins and experimenter Elisabeth Murray live. This is the latest action in PETA’s campaign against Murray’s NIH-funded painful, invasive, and deadly experiments on monkeys. The video—in which brain-damaged monkeys being terrorized with realistic-looking rubber snakes and spiders can be seen looking for an escape, freezing, turning away, and shaking their cages—points out that NIH has wasted more than $36 million on these pointless and cruel tests. Footage of Murray’s experiments has been viewed online more than 1.5 million times.

Before terrifying monkeys with fake snakes, Murray cuts open their skulls and injects toxins into their brains to inflict permanent and traumatic brain damage. In 30 years of these “psychology” experiments, her laboratory has failed to develop a single treatment or cure for humans.

“The public deserves to know that its government is using taxpayer dollars to carry out Frankenstein experiments and inject toxins into monkeys’ brains,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe. “PETA’s mobile billboard will show the public—which has unwittingly been footing the bill for NIH’s horrors—why these indefensible experiments must end.”

In addition to the fright tests, monkeys used by Murray are subjected to procedures that cause them extreme pain and distress, including the following:

  • Monkeys are subjected to multiple invasive surgeries—including craniotomies, in which sections of their skulls are carved out, a head post is implanted at the top of their skulls so that their heads can be held stock-still, and a large hole is cut into their skulls so that experimenters can inject drugs into the brain.
  • Monkeys are fitted with a metal or hard plastic collar and strapped into a restraint chair that keeps their head, arms, and/or legs immobilized. For some experiments, their arms are tied behind their backs while their heads are kept still via a head post. They are held in this manner for hours at a time, as often as five days a week.
  • Monkeys’ food and water consumption is severely restricted so that they’ll be motivated to “prompt[ly] respond” to the experimenters and “earn food or fluid … rewards.”

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 click 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