For Immediate Release:
August 11, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Portland, Ore. – PETA is calling on Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to stop acquiring and breeding monkeys since staff can’t clean the cages in accordance with federal law.
In federal documents obtained by PETA, the school cited a labor shortage in its decision to violate the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by allowing the monkeys’ cages to be sanitized only half as often as required. A staff shortage isn’t an excuse under the law.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent on August 10, PETA urges the agency to investigate and cite the university, just as it did in a similar instance that occurred in February at Emory University.
“OHSU should take its staffing shortage as a sign that nobody wants to work at a monkey-abusing laboratory and should switch to superior, human-relevant research methods that leave animals alone,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the USDA to investigate these alarming conditions and for the school to stop subjecting monkeys to suffering and neglect by no longer breeding or acquiring them.”
Labor shortages that delay cage cleaning—designed to prevent dirt, food scraps, excrement, and other waste from accumulating and potentially harming animals as well as posing a disease risk to humans—could easily contribute to other deficits in animal care, such as insufficient health checks and a lack of food and water.
Last year, the school was fined $38,000 by the USDA for nine serious violations of the AWA from February 2018 to February 2022, including botched brain surgeries on marmosets and the scalding deaths of two monkeys whose cage was run through a high-temperature washer while they were trapped inside. In August, primate center employees protested low wages and forced overtime due to understaffing— and some workers suggested that the crisis could lead to the deaths of monkeys.
PETA also has a campaign urging OHSU to stop using live animals in its obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) residency training program for physicians.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.