New Violations at Wisconsin Primate Center Should Prompt District Attorney to Take Immediate Action to Rescue Tormented Monkey

Swift Action Is Needed on Cornelius’ Case Following the Documentation of More Animal Welfare Violations at the University of Wisconsin’s National Primate Research Center

For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis.

PETA is urging the Dane County district attorney to consider how the latest raft of violations of federal animal welfare guidelines at the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) underscores the dire need to issue criminal charges and conclude the court case filed on behalf of Cornelius, a macaque there who for years was held in solitary confinement, in apparent violation of the state’s cruelty-to-animals laws.

In June 2021, PETA filed a petition with the Dane County Circuit Court urging the appointment of a special prosecutor to seek justice for Cornelius and Princess, another macaque, who was held at the WNPRC until her death. Now that reports obtained from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show ongoing neglect and abuse of additional animals held at the WNPRC, the Dane County district attorney should see more of an urgency to finally act to bring justice for Cornelius.

PETA is also filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), requesting swift punitive action against the university for the latest laundry list of violations found in NIH reports. Among other violations, the reports show that 35 baby rhesus macaques didn’t receive adequate pain relief over a five-year period, WNPRC staff administered incorrect medication and subjected multiple monkeys to excessive blood draws, and two severely stressed macaques escaped from their enclosures, resulting in serious injuries to other primates.

“State and federal officials must not stand by and allow the WNPRC to continue to evade the law,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is urging the Dane County district attorney to take prompt action and the USDA to investigate the WNPRC’s apparent unlawful treatment of vulnerable macaques. Cornelius must be moved to a reputable sanctuary before it’s too late.”

Cornelius, who was born at the WNPRC in 2010, was separated from his mother as an infant. Experimenters infected him with the dengue virus when he was 4 years old. As a baby, he suffered from full-body rashes. As a juvenile, he was plagued with persistent diarrhea, a common sign of stress in caged monkeys. For years, he was warehoused in solitary confinement, adding psychological suffering to the physical torment inflicted on him by the WNPRC.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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