UW Horrors: Infant Monkeys Dead of Trauma and Disease; Needles, Gauze Found in Primates’ Bodies

For Immediate Release:
May 10, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


Records just obtained by PETA reveal apparently serious violations, rampant disease, and multiple deaths at the University of Washington’s (UW) Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) and in monkey-breeding colonies in Mesa, Arizona, and the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, which are supposed to be “pathogen-free.” Experimenters have left needles, gauze, and other surgical equipment inside monkeys’ bodies, infant monkeys have died from undiagnosed diseases and malnourishment, and days-old monkeys have been mutilated and killed by other caged and stressed primates, among other horrors.

In response, PETA filed a complaint this morning with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), calling on it to end funding to the WaNPRC, and has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging it to investigate dozens of possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In the letter, PETA notes that none of the findings appear to have ever been reported—as is legally required—to NIH or UW’s animal experiment oversight committee. The accompanying exhibits for the two letters are here.

“The ineptitude and callousness of leaving needles inside monkeys’ bodies and allowing infants to starve or die from undiagnosed infections are appalling,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on federal agencies to investigate and cut funding before more monkeys are maimed, neglected, and killed.”

Federal law requires that primates in laboratories not be caged with monkeys who are incompatible with them, but the documents reveal that 12 infant macaques were killed by other stressed and traumatized monkeys in their cages between 2018 and 2021. In one instance, an attack killed a 3-day-old monkey and left his brain “visible through the hole and parts of it seem[ed] to be missing.” Adult macaques were missing ears, fingers, and toes. Federal law also requires that laboratories provide adequate food and use appropriate measures to prevent, control, and treat diseases and injuries. But records show that over a six-week period in mid-2021, five infant monkeys in UW’s Mesa breeding colony died from malnourishment, pneumonia, and diarrheal disease before even being part of an experiment.

Additional information about UW and the WaNPRC’s lengthy history of documented AWA violations is available here.

For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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