VIDEO: PETA Exposes Federally Funded Torment of Monkey at UMass

For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Amherst, Mass.

A new PETA video released today reveals images of a tiny marmoset monkey named Anakin used in a University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass) laboratory where experimenter Agnès Lacreuse cages, torments, and kills marmosets to study menopause—a condition the animals don’t even experience. The video footage was recorded by UMass experimenters and was obtained by PETA through an open records request. PETA is calling on the National Institutes of Health to stop funding the studies and urging the school’s animal use oversight committee to close the laboratory.

Records obtained by PETA reveal that Anakin was born in a South African breeding compound and then shipped to the Florida breeding facility owned by Worldwide Primates. He was later sold and trucked to UMass, where he was named after a Star Wars character (as many monkeys in the UMass laboratory have been) and placed in a tiny cage alone for months—unable to engage in vital social activities. In order to force Anakin to participate in experimenters’ tests, he was kept thirsty and given a sip of fluid when he cooperated. To keep him still for hours at a time while images were taken of his brain, experimenters repeatedly restrained him using a crude helmet-and-jacket system, bolting him to the bed of the MRI machine. Three times a week, he was confined to a cramped transport box until he urinated. He sustained a tail injury that swelled for more than a month. Eventually, experimenters killed him and dissected his brain.

“UMass should shut down this miserable laboratory today,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “It’s too late for Anakin, but UMass can and must spare other marmosets Lacreuse’s cruel, pointless, unscientific experiments.”

In UMass’ monkey laboratory, experimenters zip-tie frightened marmosets into restraining devices, drill into their skulls and implant electrodes, cut open their necks to expose muscle, and thread electrode leads from the scalp and neck to the abdomen. To mimic hot flashes in the marmosets, experimenters cut out their ovaries and heat the animals with hand warmers like those placed in mittens. UMass’ history of animal welfare violations includes severely burning an animal with hand warmers as he was recovering from surgery, failing to alert an attending veterinarian to sick animals, and permitting a monkey to escape and injuring the animal’s tail during recapture.

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’s blog or or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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