Beaverton, Oregon, is a small city with a big secret. Tucked between hills and farmland outside Portland and nestled amid wineries and boutiques, it hosts one of the largest taxpayer-funded monkey prisons in the world, the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC).

The ONPRC, affiliated with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), is one of seven primate centers in the country. About 1,300 nonhuman primates were experimented on inside its walls in 2022. Another 4,196 were held captive to be used for other purposes, including breeding. In 2023 alone, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave OHSU just shy of $288 million of your taxpayer money to run the center.

The national primate research centers, created by NIH in the 1960s, tout all manner of high-minded scientific pursuits. Their purported mission includes “discovering causes, preventions, treatments, and cures” for human maladies and experimenters’ “shared commitment to improve human health.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The following are some of the people who run experiments at the ONPRC and precisely what is done in all its unvarnished reality. Where available, we’ve included how much the experiments have cost you in tax money.

1. Elinor Sullivan

Sullivan, who has raked in nearly $8 million in tax money between 2018 and 2023 alone, has focused her torment on Japanese macaque mothers and their babies. OHSU was so afraid that video footage of her experiments would get out to the public that PETA had to sue to pry the videos from its hands.

Sullivan has fed monkeys high-fat, junk-food diets; thrown pregnant females together, causing an unstable environment that resulted in half of them having miscarriages; and forced adult female monkeys to run on treadmills at increasing speeds until they collapsed from exhaustion.

In one of her experiments, baby monkeys were torn away from their mothers and faced with the human intruder test, in which an experimenter walks into a room and stares threateningly at the monkey, an aggressive act that makes them fear being attacked. The monkeys flung themselves around in the cage, froze in terror, cried out, and showed signs of submission and other behavior signaling extreme psychological distress.

In another experiment, Sullivan fed a group of female monkeys a protein-deficient diet before and throughout their pregnancies, resulting in half of them experiencing miscarriages. The surviving babies exhibited impaired fetal growth and development due to their mothers’ malnourishment.

In a similar experiment, Sullivan deprived pregnant female monkeys of protein, killed their infants when they were 7 months old, and cut out their pancreas, liver, and kidneys for examination.

2. Kathleen Grant

Grant likes to get animals drunk. Since 2019, she has carried out more than 40 experiments in which animals, most frequently rhesus macaques and mice, were given alcohol. Sometimes she induces heavy consumption and dependency in them. Between 2019 and 2023, she has received over $4 million in tax money.

In one experiment, pregnant female rhesus macaques were given alcohol for the first two months of pregnancy, ostensibly to understand how it affects early fetal development. Grant subjected 31 female monkeys to up to five “breeding attempts” in order to impregnate them. Once pregnant, the monkeys drank alcohol until they reached 60 days gestation. Their fetuses were removed at 80, 110, or 185 days gestation, then killed and dissected. The experimenters negligently continued to give alcohol to one pregnant monkey for an extended period of 108 days, surpassing the study’s parameters. This monkey was then designated as an “anomalous case” in the experiment.

In another experiment, Grant forced monkeys through consistent alcohol consumption, dependency, and abstinence. Monkeys were denied liquid other than alcohol, to which they were given unrestricted access for 16 hours a day, so they eventually became dependent. Once dependent, the monkeys continued to have access to alcohol or had none, subjecting them to a period of abstinence. This was all ostensibly done to test a treatment for human alcohol dependency.

3. Andrey Ryabinin

Ryabinin is also fond of getting animals drunk, but with different motivations. He designed the now-infamous drunken vole experiment, in which the socially monogamous animals were allowed to drink the equivalent of 15 bottles of wine daily in a bizarre and twisted test—supposedly to shed light on the effects of alcohol on human infidelity. None of the voles made it out alive. They were all killed, and their brains, along with the fetuses of pregnant females, were dissected. For years, OHSU tried to keep the ridiculous experiments hidden, but PETA sued and released video footage.

Ryabinin has continued getting voles drunk in another experiment to mimic the unrestricted use of alcohol by people with alcohol use disorder—even though the physiology of prairie voles’ brains is remarkably different from that of humans.

He also likes to get mice drunk in an experiment in which he offers alcohol to them, puts them in an inescapable container with a predator threat, and leaves them there for half an hour. The result? The stressed-out mice drank more. All the mice were killed at the end of the experiment.

Ryabinin has also drilled into the skulls of mice and injected various viruses. Then, he cages them alone and gives them access to alcohol for 12 days before killing them and removing their brains.

4. Eliot Spindel

For the past 40 years, Spindel has injected pregnant monkeys with nicotine or surgically implanted nicotine pumps into their backs to cause damage to their unborn babies’ lungs. He then studies the damaging effects.

But lately, Spindel has branched off into feeding THC gummies to pregnant monkeys, supposedly to study the effects of cannabis on fetal and placental development. Experimenters let the mothers carry the fetuses nearly to term before removing the babies, killing them, and collecting tissue from them.

Spindel also gives marijuana treats to male monkeys and is apparently interested in their sperm, fertility, and reproductive health. He gives them enough weed to thoroughly intoxicate an adult human and then measures the monkey’s testicular volume, serum male hormones, and semen parameters—among other measures—in disturbing ways. The monkeys undergo “scrotal ultrasounds” and are subjected to “non-sedated electro-ejaculations.”

Let’s talk about this last bit. The monkey is put into a restraint device, immobilizing him. Electrode cream and defibrillation strips are applied to his penis. Then, increasing electrical currents are passed through the strips that induce an erection and eventual ejaculation.

This was done 18 times—to each monkey.

5. Daniel N. Streblow

Streblow, who has received more than $11 million in federal grants since 2019 for his work at OHSU, has conducted experiments testing the effect of the Zika virus on pregnant monkeys and their newborn babies.

In one experiment, Streblow infected five pregnant female macaques with the Zika virus. One of the babies was born severely premature and was euthanized on delivery. A second infant died of cardiac arrest caused by sepsis (the body’s severe reaction to infection that can lead to organ failure) after 42 hours.

A third baby suffered immensely before dying 17 days later. Soon after delivery, she experienced seizures, which were characterized by unresponsiveness to tactile stimulation; rhythmic twitching of the face, scalp, and limbs; bicycling motions of the limbs; and involuntary repetitive movements of the eyes, mouth, and jaw. She also experienced reduced muscle tone, limb weakness, lethargy, and poor motor coordination and couldn’t sit, move, or feed herself.

The fourth and fifth babies were healthy, but experimenters still killed them after 17 days for dissection. The mothers were killed immediately after their babies were delivered. The babies never saw their mothers, who were unwillingly impregnated, infected, and killed.

6. Martha Neuringer

Neuringer received a grant of more than $800,000 that’s currently funding a project to deliberately breed monkeys to have a simian version of Bardet-Biedl syndrome, a disease that causes severe eye degeneration and kidney disease in humans. She aims to test different therapies in the monkeys—even though it’s highly unlikely that results from her experiments will translate to humans. More likely, she will simply condemn the imprisoned monkeys to a life of slowly degrading vision until they’re permanently blind.

Neuringer and other experimenters previously exposed newborn monkeys to anesthesia for five-hour increments. Two years later, experimenters found that the monkeys chose to avoid social interactions, particularly those that involve close relationships, and exhibited more anxiety-related behavior.

Neuringer also tried to assess the brain development of newborn macaques who were breastfed or bottle-fed. The breastfed infants were caged with their mothers from birth. The formula-fed monkeys were taken away from their mothers, housed in incubators for two to four weeks, and then moved to cages with another monkey of the same age. They were given blankets, stuffed toys, and other inadequate substitutes for their mother’s loving company. They endured this treatment for six months.

Experimenters noted few differences in the brain development between each group and that “differences in rearing experience remain as a potential contributor to brain structural differences between breastfed and formula-fed infants.”

What You Can Do

Please take action today by urging OHSU to close the center:

The post You Pay for This: The Ugly Reality of Experiments at Oregon’s Primate Center appeared first on PETA.

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