PETA Calls For Funding of Human-Relevant Research, As Animal Experimentation Has Proved to Be an Unqualified Failure
For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2019
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Amherst, Mass. – PETA is calling on the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to abort its plan to ramp up its use of marmoset monkeys in Alzheimer’s experiments.
In a letter sent today to NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, PETA points out that humans are the only species that develops Alzheimer’s disease. Experimenters inject animals with toxins, deprive their brains of oxygen, or surgically induce strokes in order to create one or two symptoms similar to those observed in human Alzheimer’s patients, but these animals don’t suffer from the disease itself. Using animals to predict whether potential drugs to treat Alzheimer’s will be safe and effective in humans has failed 99.6% of the time.
“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “NIA’s plan to breed sensitive marmosets for a lifetime of misery in a cage for Alzheimer’s experiments, even though experiments on monkeys who are genetically more similar to humans have failed to produce any treatments, is not just insane—it’s morally reprehensible.”
At a recent workshop hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, experts admitted that experimenters have a poor understanding of marmosets’ most basic needs, including those related to housing, feeding, social interaction, breeding, and parenting. The workshop report stated, “Marmosets in captivity are susceptible to a range of diseases and are particularly prone to Marmoset Wasting Syndrome, which is … a perplexing composite of multiple conditions … that could be due to poor nutrition, stress, infection, or a combination of these factors.” The symptoms of this syndrome include weight loss, diarrhea, hair loss, muscle weakness, inflammation of the small and large intestines, paralysis, and death. In laboratories, social animals like marmosets typically display signs of psychological distress such as pacing, rocking, eating their feces, biting themselves, and pulling out their own hair.
The University of Massachusetts–Amherst imprisons dozens of marmosets in its laboratories. In order to study hot flashes experienced by women during menopause, experimenters at the university have subjected female marmosets to invasive surgeries in which electrodes are implanted in holes drilled into the animals’ skulls, incisions are made to expose the neck muscle, and electrode leads from the scalp and the neck are threaded to their abdomens. In another experiment, castrated male marmosets were injected with testosterone and then tested for cognitive functioning.
Modern, animal-free Alzheimer’s disease research includes in vivo imaging in human patients as well as cutting-edge technology like three-dimensional brains grown from human cells.