PETA Demands NIH Bar Violators After Experimenters Burned Monkeys In Lab

For Immediate Release:
November 1, 2023

Kendall Davis 202-483-7382

Bethesda, Md.In a letter sent today, PETA urges the National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA) to implement a zero-tolerance policy for staff who violate minimum animal welfare standards and bar them from any contact with animals after experimenters there caused two squirrel monkeys to sustain serious burns.

NIDA experimenters exposed the monkeys to a heat lamp and a water blanket, causing the burns, prior to subjecting them to a PET scan in order to capture images of their organs and tissues, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) report obtained by PETA.

The body temperature of one of the monkeys rose to 107 degrees. Painful burns developed on the forearms of one of the animals and on the back of the other, according to the report, which concludes that they likely came from either the heat lamp or the water blanket.

A squirrel monkey

“Government experimenters already torment and kill animals legally, and that’s bad enough,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “They should be banned from labs if they don’t abide by even the very minimal laws and guidelines meant to protect their victims.”

NIH laboratories have a long history of animal welfare violations. Mice have been starved and scalded to death, accidentally overdosed on drugs, drowned, and thrown out with the trash while they were still alive. In two separate incidents, mice who were being subjected to surgery caught fire.

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 X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram

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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