PETA Releases OHSU Video of Monkey ‘Junk Food’ Tests Following Lawsuit

Footage Shows Tests Designed to Intimidate, Frighten Young Monkeys; PETA Calls For Closure of Violation-Prone Primate Lab

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Portland, Ore. – Today, PETA released disturbing excerpts from the 74 videos it had received after prevailing in its open records lawsuit against Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The taxpayer-funded experiments on threatened Japanese macaques, also called “snow monkeys,” took place at the OHSU-administered Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) in the laboratory of Elinor Sullivan, who received $5.2 million in taxpayer money between 2011 and 2019 alone.

In a letter sent today to OHSU President Danny Jacobs, PETA also called for an end to all experiments on monkeys and the closure of the primate center, which has a long history of animal welfare violations.

The video shows some of Sullivan’s “junk food” experiments, which involved impregnating monkeys and feeding some of them high-fat food. The babies were separated from their mothers or friends, placed in an unfamiliar room, and locked inside a small, barren cage, where they were deliberately frightened in “human intruder tests,” in which experimenters threatened the terrified, traumatized animals by staring at them—which they see as an aggressive act. Experimenters killed most—if not all—of the young monkeys when they were just 13 months old.

PETA filed a lawsuit against OHSU last year after the school denied the group’s request for the footage pursuant to Oregon’s Public Records Law.

“It’s easy to see why OHSU tried so hard to hide these cruel, pointless ‘junk food’ experiments,” says PETA Vice President Dr. Alka Chandna. “This indefensible abuse of sensitive monkeys must stop now.”

The ONPRC—which receives tens of millions in taxpayer money every year and currently holds more than 6,000 monkeys—has a long history of violating animal protection laws and guidelines. Monkeys have been burned when left unattended on heating pads, subjected to painful procedures that weren’t approved, and denied pain medication after major surgeries. Monkeys given the wrong dose of insulin had to be euthanized, as did another who became entangled in PVC pipes. One monkey died while trapped behind a cage because no one noticed that he was missing.

Other experiments at the facility have included forcing animals to eat lard and addicting them to nicotine and alcohol. PETA 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, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Jacobs is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.

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— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind