PETA Urges WUSTL to Cancel Talk by Monkey Fright Experimenter

For Immediate Release:
December 30, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

St. Louis – Today, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) alumnus and PETA Vice President Shalin Gala sent a letter to Dr. Anneliese Schaefer, director of WUSTL’s Office of Neuroscience Research, urging her to cancel a planned webinar by National Institutes of Health experimenter Elisabeth Murray.

In his letter, Gala provides Schaefer with a detailed scientific and ethical critique of Murray’s painful, invasive, and deadly experiments on primates, in which monkeys are permanently brain-damaged and then frightened with fake snakes and spiders. PETA obtained and released video footage of some of the experiments earlier this year. Murray also screws head posts to the monkeys’ skulls, deprives them of food and water, and forces many of them to live in isolation. She has received more than $36 million in taxpayer funding in the past 13 years alone for these experiments, which have continued for 30 years without leading to a single preventative measure, treatment, or cure for human mental illness.

“The only thing young neuroscientists can learn from Elisabeth Murray is what not to do,” says Gala. “PETA is calling on WUSTL to replace Murray’s webinar with one featuring modern research methods that leave animals in peace and actually get results, such as neuroimaging techniques, epidemiological studies, and in vitro tools.”

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

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

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