OHSU Faces Open-Records Lawsuit Over Videos of Monkey Experiments

PETA Seeks Footage From Taxpayer-Funded Experiments on Primates

For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Portland, Ore.

PETA has filed a lawsuit against Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to compel it to release video footage of taxpayer-funded experiments on monkeys that took place at the OHSU-operated Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), as required by Oregon’s open-records law. Since the beginning of 2017, OHSU has racked up 12 separate violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including six “critical” violations, more than any other university in the U.S. during this same time period.

The footage is connected to the laboratory of Elinor Sullivan, whose experiments involve impregnating macaque monkeys, feeding the mothers various experimental diets, separating them from their offspring, and deliberately frightening the young monkeys. OHSU has denied PETA’s request for video recordings of these experiments, claiming that they’re “proprietary and unpublished research information”—but experimenters have already published several papers based on these federally funded experiments, which have no realistic chance of resulting in anything of commercial value.

“OHSU officials are trying to hide video footage of experimenters terrorizing infant monkeys, possibly because they fear that it would jeopardize their cash flow,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is demanding the legally required release of this footage, and we’ll see the university in court if necessary.”

The ONPRC—which received more than $218 million in 2017 in taxpayer-funded grants from the National Institutes of Health—currently holds more than 5,000 monkeys. Other experiments at the facility include ones in which monkeys are forced to eat lard and addicted to nicotine and alcohol. PETA had previously obtained footage from OHSU of a publicly funded experiment that Sullivan helped to coordinate in which young monkeys were deliberately frightened with a Mr. Potato Head toy.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is the human-supremacist view that other animals are commodities to be bred, tormented, and disposed of at will. PETA has filed other ongoing open-records lawsuits seeking to obtain videos of similar primate experiments that were conducted at the University of California–Davis and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

PETA is represented in this matter by the Angeli Law Group LLC.

A copy of the lawsuit is available upon request.

For more information, please visit  PETA.org or click here.

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