PETA Exposes Misery and Waste, Demands Closure of National Primate Research Centers

Group Releases Video, Cites Facilities’ Failure to Develop Cures

For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

Today, PETA released video footage obtained from four of the seven federally funded national primate research centers (NPRCs)—in Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin—showing highly social monkeys in solitary confinement inside cages barely larger than their bodies, where they spin in circles, pull out their own hair, bite themselves, and engage in other behavior indicative of distress and trauma.

The NPRCs were begun in the 1960s with the aim of providing vaccines and cures for human diseases, but no marketable vaccines from the use of monkeys have resulted. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are poured into these facilities every year to fund experiments such as total-body irradiation, studies on junk food, maternal infant deprivation, and single-neuron tracking, which involves cutting into monkeys and inserting electrodes into their brains as they are bolted in place and forced to watch a computer screen for hours a day.

The NPRCs have racked up hundreds of violations of animal protection laws. Monkeys have died from starvation, dehydration, strangulation, choking on their own vomit, scalding in a high-temperature cage washer, and veterinary error. The Washington NPRC at the University of Washington is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for escapes of monkeys and conflicts of interest on its experimentation oversight committee.

“These laboratories have produced 60 years of monkeys’ misery and not one marketable vaccine or cure for deadly human diseases,” says PETA Senior Scientific Adviser for Primate Experimentation Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “PETA is calling for these failed experiments to end, these centers to shut down, and these monkeys to be sent to sanctuaries where their loneliness and pain could be treated and their exploitation could finally end.”

In 2015, Harvard University’s New England NPRC, facing multiple animal welfare violations, examined the future of research and closed down. NPRCs remain at the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin, Oregon Health & Science University, Emory University, Tulane University, the University of California–Davis, and Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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