Video: Protesters Disrupt NIH Baby-Monkey Experimenter’s Speech

Action Is Latest Salvo in PETA Campaign Calling for an End to NIH's Highly Controversial, Much-Criticized Abuse of Baby Monkeys

For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2015

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Just minutes into yesterday’s seminar at the University of Michigan featuring Stephen Suomi, the head experimenter on baby monkeys at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a PETA supporter took the stage and unfolded a sign reading, “Suomi: Stop Abusing Baby Monkeys.” Proclaiming, “This is not science—this is violence,” the protester was followed in succession by two others holding signs and decrying Suomi’s cruel experiments. The PETA supporters were escorted from the room—but moments later, Suomi was interrupted again by audio from his own laboratory of monkeys screaming in terror and a fourth protester.

The actions come in the midst of a campaign by PETA calling for an end to NIH’s much-criticized maternal-deprivation experiments on infant monkeys. Video footage is available here.

“Terrorizing infant monkeys in traumatic experiments is as cruel as it is inapplicable to human mental health,” says PETA Director Justin Goodman. “PETA is calling for NIH to stop these unethical experiments now, before any more taxpayer dollars are wasted.”

As revealed in video footage released by PETA, NIH experimenters at a laboratory in Maryland breed monkeys to be prone to depression, remove the infants from their mothers at birth to induce trauma, and then subject the young ones to years of experiments designed to cause, worsen, and measure the babies’ severe fear, depression, and anxiety. These experiments have never led to the development of treatments for human mental illness and are superseded by human brain imaging and other modern techniques but have continued for more than 30 years and cost taxpayers more than $30 million in just the past seven years alone.

Members of Congress have spoken out against the experiments, along with actor James Cromwell, scientists such as Dr. Jane Goodall, celebrity psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman, conservative strategist Mary Matalin, and hundreds of thousands of other citizens.

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 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