For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Amherst, Mass. – PETA is urging federal authorities to stop pointless and cruel experiments on monkeys run by Agnès Lacreuse at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass).
The group points out that Lacreuse’s experiments on sensitive marmosets potentially violate federal animal welfare guidelines in numerous ways and details grave concerns in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health.
The complaint highlights that Lacreuse’s experiments involve several major surgeries on monkeys, that she apparently downplays the severity of the monkeys’ suffering, and that she fails to sufficiently consider non-animal alternatives before conducting painful tests. It also asserts that the experiments have no scientific value, among other serious concerns.
A marmoset is confined at a UMass lab in this image obtained by PETA through a Massachusetts Public Records Law request.
“Agnès Lacreuse’s cruel experiments are a pointless anachronism in a research world filled with viable non-animal methods,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe. “PETA is calling on federal authorities to investigate Lacreuse’s lab and impose the appropriate penalties for these egregious abuses of marmosets.”
Lacreuse and her staff screw electrodes into monkeys’ skulls, pump them full of hormones, restrain them with zip ties, deny them water, deprive them of sleep, and subject them to fear- and stress-inducing behavioral tests and frequent social isolation. After eight to 10 years, experimenters kill and dissect them.
The tiny monkeys are an exceptionally poor stand-in for humans in experiments purportedly designed to study menopause, which marmosets don’t even naturally experience. Cutting-edge technology such as stem cell models, three-dimensional cell culture models, and organs-on-chips, as well as studies with human volunteers, could replace Lacreuse’s experiments, the complaint states.
UMass laboratories have a long history of animal welfare violations. Hamsters were found living in inches-deep waste, a marmoset died after being badly burned with hand warmers, and experimenters failed to provide required pain relief to several hundred mice. Animals have drowned and starved to death, and monkeys have escaped, which at least once resulted in an amputation.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.