For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2024
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Winston-Salem, North Carolina – PETA is calling for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate after staffers at Wake Forest University botched experiments on monkeys and then apparently tried to cover it up, according to a just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report. The incidents are the latest in a years-long slew of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at the university. PETA has also submitted, via an online form, its concerns to the North Carolina Department of Justice regarding possible violations of state anti-cruelty laws in the school’s laboratories.
Workers conducted unapproved blood draws on rhesus macaques at least three times and gave them an unapproved substance at least twice. When the attending veterinarian tried to investigate possible exposure to a contaminated substance, an experimenter intentionally excluded four monkeys from the veterinarian’s directive and told staff to flush two monkeys’ intravenous catheters, “with the apparent intent of obscuring culture results,” according to the USDA report.
“The short, miserable lives of animals at Wake Forest University are bad enough without experimenters actively making things worse by attempting to cover up their mistakes or subvert the authority of veterinarians,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on NIH to investigate and to stop giving away taxpayer money to fund this gross incompetence.”
The USDA report says that a monkey sustained severe gashes on his chest and head that required surgery after a staffer put him in the wrong enclosure with an incompatible monkey and then failed to report the error. It also states that an experimenter failed to report that a monkey’s IV port was exposed for at least four days and that another gave a drug to a monkey not called for in the experiment, causing the animal to become hypothermic and lethargic.
Wake Forest laboratories have previously been cited for incidents including snapping a mouse’s neck without giving the animal anesthesia; failing to feed six mice over a weekend (all of whom died); an untrained experimenter carving into cats’ skulls and implanting hardware in their brains without cleaning it, then failing to provide adequate pain medication; accidentally strangling a rabbit to death; and leaving 10 sheep outside without shade in 95-degree heat. Wake Forest received over $150 million in funding from NIH last year alone.
The national farewell tour of PETA’s “Without Consent” display, which explores the troubled history of experiments on animals, is currently at Bailey Park in Winston-Salem to bring attention to Wake Forest University’s cruel experiments on animals. PETA was honored to host Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines at the event launch last week. Due to popular demand, the display will remain in Bailey Park today through Friday. You can find images from the exhibit’s first week here and the Facebook event page here.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.