Video: Agency Spends Millions Scaring Monkeys With ‘Snakes’ and ‘Spiders’

For Immediate Release:  

25 February 2020


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


PETA US Demands That NIH End Three Decades of ‘Fright’ Experiments on Brain-Damaged Monkeys

London – PETA US has released never-before-seen showing brain-damaged monkeys who are terrorised with rubber snakes and spiders at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratory in Maryland, US.

In the last 30 years, the NIH laboratory has received tens of millions of taxpayer dollars – more than $36 million in the past 13 years alone – for these “psychology” experiments. Out of view of the public, experimenters cut into the monkeys’ heads, saw off a portion of their skulls to expose the brain, and then inject toxins into it to cause permanent and traumatic brain damage. In some monkeys, they suction out or burn part of the brain. The animals are placed alone in a small metal cage, and experimenters deliberately frighten them with rubber snakes and spiders, wooden mechanical snakes, and fake jumping spiders. Eventually, they’re killed. After three decades of tormenting and killing monkeys, the laboratory has not developed a single treatment or cure for humans.

PETA US is demanding that NIH close this laboratory, end these tests, and redirect funds to superior, non-animal research methods that benefit humans.

“While humans wait for cures to deadly diseases, one of the world’s premier health agencies is sucking out parts of monkeys’ brains and scaring them with ‘snakes’ and ‘spiders’,” says PETA Science Policy Adviser Dr Julia Baines. “NIH must shut down this horrific laboratory and retire the surviving monkeys to sanctuaries.”

All primates naturally fear snakes – and during the experiments, the monkeys respond by freezing, turning away, shaking the bars of the cage, or showing signs of submission.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – notes that similar experiments on monkeys have been conducted in the UK. Experimenters have used drugs to inflict brain damage on monkeys and then have placed them in plexiglass boxes and exposed them to stimuli intended to frighten them, such as loud blasts of sound and sudden appearances of lifelike plastic cobras.

The letter PETA US sent to NIH can be found For more information, please visit