‘Rey’ in a Laboratory? Daisy Ridley Calls Out Experiments on Monkeys Named After ‘Star Wars’ Characters

‘Rey’ in a Laboratory? Daisy Ridley Calls Out Experiments on Monkeys Named After ‘Star Wars’ Characters

London – Actor Daisy Ridley is lifting a pen instead of a lightsaber to defend marmosets at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst (UMass) after learning that the institution tormented and killed monkeys it named after Star Wars characters – including Rey, her on-screen alter ego – purportedly to study menopause, which the animals do not experience.

In a letter sent on behalf of PETA to UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, Ridley demands an end to the deadly studies, writing, “I obviously have a deep connection with this franchise, and it breaks my heart to hear that the names of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and several other beloved characters are now associated with such cruelty.”

Anakin is one marmoset who never knew freedom, even while his namesake character zoomed around a galaxy far, far away. Experimenters placed Anakin in a cramped cage alone for months; kept him thirsty in tests; bolted him to the bed of a noisy, terrifying MRI machine; and eventually killed him. Video obtained by PETA US shows another marmoset, Leia, screaming out in distress at UMass – yet no one helps her. Ridley urges Subbaswamy to embrace innovative, animal-free research and to give the marmosets a new hope by releasing them to a sanctuary.

At UMass, experimenters conduct multiple invasive surgeries on the tiny marmosets, subject them to stressful social isolation tests, apply hand warmers to their bodies in a crude attempt to induce hot flashes, and mimic sleep disruption by blasting them with loud noises every 15 minutes throughout the night.

Ridley joins a long list of Star Wars actors – including Thandiwe Newton, Natalie Portman, Woody Harrelson, and Mark Hamill – who have teamed up with PETA entities to promote kindness to animals.

PETA UK – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]