PETA Statement: Critical Violation at Yerkes National Primate Research Center

For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2021

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Atlanta – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s citation for a critical violation of animal welfare laws inside Yerkes National Primate Research Center:

Shoddy, careless, and dangerous—that’s the only way to describe Yerkes National Primate Research Center’s experimental and “care” practices. Yerkes was just cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the death of a monkey whose leg was caught between two metal sheets, apparently in an outdoor enclosure. It’s not clear whether the animal died of blood loss, of dehydration, or in some other painful way. Yerkes has a long history of animal welfare violations. Monkeys have died from starvation, strangulation, suffocation, heatstroke, asphyxiation from their own vomit, self-mutilation, being scalded to death after a cage was placed in an automated washer while the animal was still inside, trauma and shock, and sepsis. Recent inspection reports reveal that monkeys suffered from debilitating pain and, in one case, died after gauze had been left in an animal’s abdomen during experimental surgery. A 7-month-old female monkey died after having been left behind and forgotten inside an unattended cage. And a juvenile monkey had to be euthanized after a rubber band that had been tied to his wrist became embedded in his body after staff neglected to remove it. Staff had used rubber bands to tie him down while he was being tattooed with an identification number. Between 1997 and 2005, the USDA fined Yerkes $17,375 for a litany of serious animal welfare violations. In 2007, it was ordered to pay $15,000 by an administrative law judge for “willful violations” of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Emory University should shut down the miserable mess today.

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

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