Monkeys Overdosed, Injured, and Killed: PETA Asks Feds to Investigate UW-Madison`

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

Today, PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging it to investigate the University of Wisconsin–Madison for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act numerous times since January in its treatment of monkeys in its laboratories. PETA uncovered the violations through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The violations include giving a macaque 1,000 times the prescribed dosage of an antidepressant medication and overdosing another macaque on an experimental compound that induced multi-organ failure and death. On several occasions, monkeys escaped from their cages and were seriously injured as a result of workers’ carelessness. Experimenters also failed to provide monkeys with adequate pain relief following invasive experimental surgeries.

“UW-Madison’s sloppy mistakes reveal a dangerous lack of training, oversight, and knowledge,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA urges the USDA to investigate and take action to prevent callous experimenters from harming even one more animal.”

PETA’s FOIA requests to NIH revealed 69 violations of federal animal welfare guidelines in UW-Madison’s laboratories between April 2018 and May 2021. Among other incidents, UW-Madison staff allowed baby mice to starve to death, failed to provide monkeys with water over a three-day weekend, placed mice who survived an attempt to kill them by gassing into a freezer, administered a joint treatment to the wrong macaque for 19 days, and amputated a marmoset’s broken leg without knowing the cause of the injury.

These violations follow PETA’s undercover investigation into the university’s Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, the results of which were released last September. Video footage and photographs show highly intelligent primates who have been deprived of the opportunity to meet their most basic needs, treated with cruelty and contempt, and driven mad by extreme, near-constant, long-term confinement. Some of them have endured over two decades of it.

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.

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