Stop Hiding and Funding Violent Psychopaths, PETA Tells HHS

A Long List of Experimenters Tormented Animals—and Then Murdered, Raped, Sexually Assaulted, or Harassed Humans

For Immediate Release:
September 6, 2018

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


Armed with a disturbing list of animal experimenters who murdered, raped, sexually assaulted, or harassed humans—and in light of the well-documented link between cruelty to animals and other violent crimes, PETA is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to require psychiatric evaluations of individuals who apply for federal funding for animal studies.

“Just as the Catholic Church became a place of refuge for pedophiles, the experimentation world has protected—and even lauded and rewarded—dangerous individuals who also engaged in violence outside the laboratory,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA wants HHS to start protecting the public and the vulnerable animals who are under experimenters’ absolute control by requiring a psychiatric evaluation of anyone seeking to harm animals under the guise of  ‘research.’”

The FBI, which recognizes the link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans, now tracks cases of animal abuse. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz all tortured animals before killing humans. PETA’s letter cites a dozen experimenters who harmed animals and then moved on to hurting humans, including the following:

  • Christopher Duntsch (University of Tennessee Health Science Center, various Texas hospitals), the subject of the new Wondery podcast Death, is a neurosurgeon now spending life in prison for botched surgeries that killed two people and paralyzed or seriously injured 31 others. According to The Dallas Morning News, “he once wrote an email to his employees confessing a burgeoning bloodlust. ‘I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold-blooded killer.’” In one experiment on which he is a coauthor, windows were placed in rats’ skulls so that cancerous tumors that had been implanted could be observed.
  • Michael Simons (Yale University) induced “chronic liver injuries” and used a biopsy punch to create “full-thickness” wounds in mice. In 2014, a Yale committee determined that the experimenter, who was married, “had sexually harassed a postdoc at the medical school and then treated her husband, a Yale cardiologist, unfairly.” Simons was suspended as chief of cardiology for a brief period—but in September 2018, he was given an endowed professorship in the school’s cardiology department.
  • Tracy McIntosh (University of Pennsylvania) inflicted traumatic brain injuries on rats. In 2003, he was arrested for raping a Penn veterinary student he had doped with Nembutal, a “date rape” drug used in his laboratory to kill rats, and was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison. The victim later sued the university for allegedly covering up his history of sexual harassment.
  • Robert Ferrante (University of Pittsburgh) spun, suspended, and decapitated mice. In 2013, he poisoned his wife to death with cyanide overnighted from his laboratory. He is currently serving life in prison.
  • Wyndham Lathem (Northwestern University) infected mice with the bubonic plague and watched as they slowly died. In 2017, he and an accomplice reportedly stabbed his boyfriend 70 times, killing and nearly decapitating him. Lathem is awaiting trial.
  • William French Anderson (University of Southern California) is called the “father of gene editing” for his experiments on monkeys, mice, rats, rabbits, and sheep. In 2006, he was convicted of the continuous sexual abuse of and lewd acts toward a child younger than 14. The victim was the child of a friend. Anderson was released from prison in May this year after serving nearly 11 years.
  • Jules Masserman (University of Chicago, Northwestern University), past president of both the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and the American Psychiatric Association, found that monkeys would starve themselves rather than pulling a lever to shock other monkeys and obtain food. Masserman, who was also in private practice, was accused by several patients of drugging and sexually abusing them. He denied doing so but settled out of court with four women and gave up his medical license. The American Psychiatric Association suspended him for five years rather than expelling him.

For a more complete list of animal experimenters who have harmed humans, please visit or click here. A copy of PETA’s letter to HHS is available upon request.

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