Exhibit Opens as PETA Calls On UMass to Modernize and Phase Out Monkey Tests
For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2021
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Amherst, Mass. – In the midst of growing awareness of cultural biases, PETA is erecting a large exhibit, titled “Without Consent,” that explores the troubled history of experiments on nonconsenting animals and challenges institutions—including the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass)—to rethink this exploitative, expensive, cruel, and archaic idea of science and to replace it with state-of-the-art research methodologies. Two 7-by-7-foot cubes bear concise descriptions and photographs of nearly 200 animal experiments conducted at U.S. institutions from the 1920s through today. They will be on display at the historic Amherst Town Common for four days, beginning tomorrow at 12 noon.
When: Thursday, May 6, 12 noon
Where: Amherst North Town Common (at the intersection of Main and Boltwood Ave)
“Without Consent” uses historical perspective to point out that beginning in medieval times, experiments were conducted on vulnerable humans—including orphans in tuberculosis and psychological experiments, immigrant women in gynecological surgeries, soldiers in LSD and poison gas tests, and impoverished Black men in syphilis experiments. The exhibit illustrates that just as society now understands that this was wrong, we need to let that moral awakening guide our conduct today and so extend consideration to other nonconsenting beings who suffer and die in experiments, from floor-cleaner product tests to mother-infant separation studies.
The installation’s run in Amherst coincides with the battle brewing between PETA and UMass. PETA released shocking video footage from a UMass study revealing that deeply distressed monkeys circled and paced inside small metal cages, and then PETA scientists asked to meet with UMass officials to assist them in replacing studies involving monkeys and other animals with state-of-the-art methodologies. However, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy canceled the meetings after a single session—although admitting that the ideas presented were impressive—saying he was backing out under pressure from tenured professors who still experiment on animals and aren’t interested in changing their ways.
“‘Without Consent’ tells the true stories of animals needlessly harmed and killed in painful experiments that they did not and could not consent to,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Humans are only one animal species among many, and having the power to exploit the others does not give us the right to do so.”
PETA’s installation features infant monkeys who were taken from their mothers and raised alone in a “pit of despair” to cause devastating mental illness, cats who were deafened and whose spines were cut, dogs who were electroshocked so many times that they gave up trying to escape, and mice who were burned, drowned, and cut open without anesthetics. UMass currently imprisons dozens of marmosets to study hot flashes experienced by women during menopause, even though human volunteers are ready, willing, and able to participate instead. In recent years, UMass experimenters have subjected female marmosets to invasive surgeries in which electrodes were implanted in holes drilled into their skulls, incisions were made to expose neck muscle, and electrode leads from the scalp and the neck were threaded through their abdomens. In another UMass experiment, castrated male marmosets were injected with testosterone and then tested for cognitive functioning.