Protesters to Take Message to National Institute of Mental Health Director’s Neighborhood

PETA Will Urge Joshua Gordon to End Monkey Fright Tests, Near-Drowning Tests on Mice, and More

For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2020

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

New York

Later today, a group of chalk-wielding PETA protesters will “decorate” the sidewalks and light posts near the home of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Joshua Gordon with colorful messages urging him to end the agency’s cruel and wasteful psychological tests on mice and monkeys.

When:    Today, June 23, 1–2 p.m.

Where:    3218 Oxford Ave. (at the intersection with W. 235th Street), Bronx

The protesters will take aim at government experimenter Elisabeth Murray’s tests on rhesus macaques, in which she cuts into their heads, saws off a portion of their skulls to expose the brain, injects toxins to inflict permanent brain damage, and then terrorizes them with rubber snakes and spiders. Other tests in question include the widely discredited forced swim test, in which small animals are placed into beakers of water and made to swim to keep from drowning; the tail suspension test, in which mice are hung upside down by their tails; and foot-shock experiments, in which mice are locked inside a chamber and electrically shocked.

“People are suffering, the world is battling an unprecedented virus, and NIMH is wasting time and taxpayers’ money on crude experiments that nearly drown mice and inflict brain damage in monkeys,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is heading to Joshua Gordon’s neighborhood to urge him to stop tormenting sensitive animals and instead switch to superior, human-relevant research methods.”

PETA points to studies showing that 90% of all basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to human treatments and that 95% of all new medications that test safe and effective in animals fail in human trials. Yet in 2019 alone, NIMH spent more than $26,602,694 in hard-earned taxpayer dollars on cruel, ineffective, and wasteful experiments that involve the forced swim or other psychological tests on mice and rats. In 30 years of testing on monkeys, Murray has received more than $36 million in taxpayer money but has failed to develop a single treatment for humans.

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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