‘Rey’ in a Laboratory? Daisy Ridley Battles UMass Over Experiments on Monkeys Named After ‘Star Wars’ Characters

For Immediate Release:
October 18, 2022

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Amherst, Mass. – Actor Daisy Ridley is lifting a pen instead of a lightsaber to defend marmosets at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass), after learning that the school tormented and killed monkeys it named after Star Wars characters—including Rey, her on-screen alter ego—purportedly to study menopause, which the animals do not experience.

In a letter sent on behalf of PETA today to UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, Ridley demands an end to the deadly studies, writing, “I obviously have a deep connection with this franchise, and it breaks my heart to hear that the names of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and several other beloved characters are now associated with such cruelty.”

Anakin is one marmoset who never knew freedom, even while his namesake character zoomed around a galaxy far, far away. Experimenters confined Anakin to a tiny cage alone for months; kept him thirsty in tests; bolted him to the bed of a noisy, terrifying MRI machine; and eventually killed him. Video obtained by PETA shows another marmoset, Leia, screaming in distress at UMass—yet no one helps her. Ridley urges Subbaswamy to embrace innovative, animal-free research and to give the marmosets a new hope by releasing them to a sanctuary.

At UMass, experimenters conduct multiple invasive surgeries on the tiny marmosets, subject them to stressful social isolation tests, apply hand warmers to their bodies in a crude attempt to induce hot flashes, and mimic sleep disruption by blasting them with loud noises every 15 minutes throughout the night.

Ridley joins a long list of Star Wars actors—including Thandie Newton, Natalie Portman, Woody Harrelson, and Mark Hamill—who have helped promoted kindness to animals.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 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