NIH to Face Protest Over Cruel, Worthless ‘Monkey Fright’ Experiments

PETA Protesters Will Demand an End to Government Experimenter's Torment of Brain-Damaged Primates

For Immediate Release:
March 4, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – On Thursday, 11 days after PETA released never-before-seen video footage of brain-damaged monkeys being terrorized with realistic-looking rubber snakes and spiders at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratory in Maryland, PETA protesters will descend on the Department of Health & Human Services building to demand an end to the tests. They’ll brandish blown-up images from the footage, and the video itself will be played on a screen outside the building.

When:    Thursday, March 5, 8–9:15 a.m. and noon–1:15 p.m.

Where:    Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. S.W., Washington

Government experimenter Elisabeth Murray has received more than $36 million in taxpayer funding in the past 13 years alone for these “psychology” experiments. She cuts into monkeys’ heads, saws off a portion of their skulls to expose the brain, and then injects toxins into it to inflict permanent and traumatic brain damage. In some monkeys, she suctions out or burns part of the brain. Afterward, they’re placed alone in a small metal cage, and experimenters frighten them with rubber snakes and spiders, wooden mechanical snakes, and fake jumping spiders. Eventually, they’re killed. In 30 years of these tests, Murray’s laboratory has failed to develop a single treatment or cure for humans.

“While Americans wait for cures to deadly diseases, this country’s premiere health agency is sucking out parts of monkeys’ brains and then scaring them with fake snakes and spiders,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on NIH to shut down this horrific laboratory and retire the surviving monkeys to sanctuaries.”

All primates naturally fear snakes—and during the experiments, the monkeys respond by freezing, turning away, shaking their cages, or showing signs of submission.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist view of the world. For more information, please visit

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