Marmosets Die, UMass Experimenter Collects $4.4 Million in Tax Money
There’s an obscenity masquerading as a scientific experiment going on in a University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass) laboratory that torments and kills delicate marmoset monkeys. The experiment claims to study age-related changes in human cognition associated with menopause.
But here’s the kicker: Gentle marmosets—who are not miniature human beings to begin with—don’t experience menopause, so experimenters have to approximate the symptoms to compensate. Please help us put an end to these ridiculous experiments.
Holes Drilled Into Monkeys’ Skulls; Electrode Leads Threaded Through Their Bodies
Led by Agnès Lacreuse, experimenters perform invasive surgeries on female marmosets, implanting electrodes in holes that they drill into the animals’ skulls. Then they cut into their necks and thread electrode leads from their scalp and neck through their abdomen.
The marmosets are routinely zip-tied into a restraining device to immobilize them, and then they are shoved into a plastic cylinder that’s screwed in place and are subjected to the noise of an MRI machine. It’s a frightening and confusing experience.
In some tests, these sensitive, social monkeys are left in solitary confinement—which United Nations officials have compared to torture when it’s done to humans—just to see how they react.
News Flash: Marmosets Don’t Get Hot Flashes
Marmosets don’t go through menopause, so Lacreuse devised ways to simulate it. She surgically removes marmosets’ ovaries and then uses hand warmers on the monkeys to mimic hot flashes.
You read that right. She uses hand warmers, like the kind you put in your mittens in January.
This is not science.
This kind of thinking wouldn’t even win a blue ribbon at a fifth-grade science fair, and it’s decidedly not the paradigm-changing work expected from an adult who, incidentally, has hauled in more than $4 million in taxpayers’ hard-earned money to play scientist.
Much as a window is no substitute for a door, giving marmosets pretend hot flashes cannot hope to shed any light on a human condition that the animals themselves don’t experience. If the development of the COVID-19 vaccines has shown us anything, it’s that skipping animal experiments can bring relief to humans quickly and efficiently. Just use the door and skip the window.
Marmosets Belong in Nature, Not Locked in a Barren Laboratory
Marmosets are intelligent and curious animals. In nature, they live high up in the canopies of rainforests in social groups composed of up to three generations of family members. They’re highly vocal, communicating with each other in complex, high-pitched calls that convey information about a wide variety of emotions and situations. Sensitive and largely monogamous, marmoset pairs spend time grooming each other, huddling together affectionately, sharing food, and coordinating activities, including raising their young.
Their lives matter to them, and exploiting marmosets for worthless and painful experiments is a form of speciesism—a human-supremacist worldview. It must end.
These Experiments Hurt Monkeys and Taxpayers—Help End Them
After caging, cutting into, and experimenting on marmosets, Lacreuse kills them and dissects their bodies. These experiments amount to nothing more than the torment of sensitive monkeys and a scourge for American taxpayers—they’ve cost us more than $4 million so far and earned UMass a laundry list of citations for violations of federal animal welfare laws.