Princeton Staff Tormented Monkey for Fun in Tax-Funded Lab

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Princeton's History of Cruelty

In 2011, Princeton was cited for failing to give adequate veterinary care to a pregnant marmoset who was in distress and ready to give birth. Her newborn ultimately died, and a veterinarian was not allowed to investigate the cause of death.

The same year, Princeton was cited for an incident in which a marmoset was injured after escaping from his cage.

In total, Princeton has been cited for 23 violations of federal animal welfare laws in its laboratories in the last five years, including for failing to search for alternatives to animal use, failing to provide primates in pain with adequate veterinary care, and failing to justify drastically restricting primates' access to drinking water.

A brave whistleblower has provided PETA with disturbing evidence that callous employees in a federally funded laboratory at Princeton University recently placed at least one marmoset monkey in a small plastic ferret exercise ball and rolled the ball through the corridors of the laboratory to torment the terrified monkey for their own amusement.

Marmosets are small, fragile primates who are very easily stressed by being handled, and this cruel stunt was no doubt terrifying and could have caused serious injuries.

The whistleblower also alleges that staff in this laboratory routinely handle the small monkeys roughly, causing them to bite employees, and have even allowed them to escape from their cages, putting them at risk of harming themselves and others. PETA has filed a complaint with federal authorities and called for fines and revocation of funding. Princeton has a disturbing history of mistreating marmosets and other animals.

The laboratory in which the recent incidents occurred has received more than $2.3 million dollars in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health since 2007. See the sidebar for more information.

Marmosets naturally live in rich forests and spend their time high in trees among family groups spanning three generations. At Princeton, they are locked in cages and used for experiments on vocalization coordination—something that could be studied in monkeys in the wild without subjecting them to the fear, distress, and confinement of a laboratory.

Please join PETA and call on Princeton to make immediate plans to relocate its marmosets to an accredited sanctuary, where they can live in a safe, more natural environment and be treated with the care, dignity, and respect that they deserve.


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