Congress has taken action to put cruel psychological experiments on infant monkeys at the National Institutes of Health and other NIH experiments under the microscope, following pleas from Dr. Jane Goodall, Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell, and TV icon Bob Barker.
The House Appropriations Committee passed language — championed by California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard — in its spending bill mandating that NIH undertake, with input from outside experts, a critical assessment of the agency’s ethical-review policies related to all experiments on monkeys and other primates.
Unlike studies on humans and chimpanzees, NIH currently does not subject experiments on monkeys to formal ethical review or risk-benefit analysis. Last year, PETA exposed controversial experiments at NIH in which monkeys are bred to be prone to depression, taken from their mothers at birth to induce trauma, locked alone in small cages, and then subjected to years of experiments designed to measure the babies’ severe fear, depression, and anxiety.
“I’ve had productive discussions with offices on both sides of the aisle about this issue, and I applaud Congress for acting to ensure more stringent and independent oversight of taxpayer-funded experiments on monkeys,” says Barker, who stars in a new TV spot calling for an end to the experiments.
Cromwell adds, “I’m proud to have been involved with Rep. Roybal-Allard on this bipartisan effort to secure some much-needed ethical scrutiny of controversial experiments on vulnerable infant monkeys.” Cromwell co-hosted a congressional briefing on the cruelty of the experiments, their inapplicability to human health, and the superior non-animal research methods available to study mental illness.
Other prominent figures who’ve teamed up with PETA to speak out against the experiments and call for reform include celebrity psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman, conservative strategist Mary Matalin, other members of Congress — including Reps. Sam Farr, Dina Titus and Eliot Engel – and more than 250,000 citizens.