Legacy Health Staffers Don’t Notice Monkey’s Third-Degree Burns for Six Days; PETA Demands Federal and State Investigations


For Immediate Release:
February 5, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Portland, Ore. – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo regarding a citation posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) against Legacy Health  in Portland, Oregon, after a female rhesus macaque sustained third-degree burns that staff didn’t notice for six days. PETA has requested immediate investigations and swift action from the National Institutes of Health and local law enforcement (via this online form) for possible violations of federal animal welfare guidelines and the state’s anti-cruelty statutes.

The facade of professionalism at Legacy Health has been stripped away after staffers didn’t even notice that a monkey was suffering from burns through all layers of the skin on her legs for nearly a week. Legacy Health doesn’t deserve another penny from taxpayers and should be prosecuted for possible violations of state cruelty-to-animals laws.

Following surgery on the monkey, staff put her on a heating pad and under a heat lamp. When she was moved to her cage, a technician placed a heat lamp outside it. It took six days for staff to realize that the monkey had suffered for nearly a week with untreated third-degree burns.

Legacy Health must redirect its resources toward modern, non-animal research methods that will actually help humans, and we urge officials there to adopt PETA’s Research Modernization Deal.

This latest violation follows earlier citations posted by the USDA against Legacy Health. In June 2023, the facility was cited after staff failed to safely transfer a rhesus macaque from one enclosure to another. As a result, the monkey sustained broken bones and pierced skin. In September 2021, a monkey who was being anesthetized died after a valve on the anesthesia machine was left closed, preventing the animal from breathing and causing pressure-related trauma to the lungs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.


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