Act Now: Help Save Baby Monkeys Tormented in Strobe-Effect Experiment

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Update (May 23, 2024): PROGRESS! Following our exposés and actions, Congress has slashed the budget of the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative by 40%. This is what happens when you fund cruel and worthless experiments.

The good news comes after tens of thousands of our supporters joined us in urging the program to stop funding Harvard University’s cruel strobe experiments on baby monkeys and other horrors. We also wrote to former President Barack Obama, who launched the BRAIN Initiative, informing him what his program was up to and asking him to intervene in behalf of these baby monkeys. In March 2024, PETA inundated members of Congress with ads in multiple Washington, D.C., newspapers, letting them know that the BRAIN Initiative was funneling more than $2 million in tax money to monkey torture at Harvard.

But we still need your help! We must make sure that Harvard’s vision-warping experiments on newborn infant macaques are first on the BRAIN Initiative’s chopping block. If you haven’t already, please take action below now.

Original post:

PETA has discovered that Harvard Medical School experimenter Margaret Livingstone, notorious for sewing baby monkeys’ eyelids shut for up to a year, has plumbed new depths of cruelty previously thought impossible—and we need your help to stop her.

In her latest test, Livingstone snatches newborn monkeys from their mothers and forces them to wear goggles that befuddle their vision by creating an unrelenting and disorienting strobing effect. It’s the only reality they know for the first year and a half of their lives.

PETA is urging the National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to immediately pull the plug on these and related tests by Livingstone, which it’s funding with more than $2 million in taxpayer money. We’re also asking former President Barack Obama to intervene, because the initiative was launched under his administration.

But the power of your voice is imperative.

Goggles of Gloom

Livingstone proudly revealed the disturbing details of her experiment at a recent Society for Neuroscience meeting. After ripping the baby monkeys away from their mothers, she forces them to wear specially crafted helmets and goggles with shutters built into them that repeatedly block their vision. The shutters rapidly open and close, plunging the babies into darkness again and again.

The goggles create an effect similar to a strobe light. During every second, the baby monkeys see only 0.2 seconds of light followed by 0.8 seconds of darkness. Over and over. For up to a year and a half.

Once Livingstone and other experimenters are satisfied with their torment, they subject the monkeys to additional tests to assess the extent of the damage inflicted on their brains.

Deranged and Unhinged

Livingstone has a serious obsession with hurting baby monkeys, and she’s made a 40-year career out of tormenting them. In other experiments conducted at Harvard, she has abducted newborn monkeys from their mothers (yet again) and sewn their eyes shut to see how badly she can damage their brain and visual development.

Figure 1 in Triggers for Mother Love | Margaret S. Livingstone | CC BY-NC-ND
This photo, taken in Livingstone’s lab, appears in a publication in which she acknowledges that mother monkeys become distressed when their babies are stolen from them.

Hey, Marge, what did baby monkeys ever do to you?

Livingstone seemingly draws inspiration for her experiments from the nightmarish work of Harry Harlow, another experimenter who harbored a seemingly personal vendetta against baby monkeys. Harlow is best known for inventing a torture device he himself called the “pit of despair,” designed to plunge motherless monkeys into depression as quickly and efficiently as possible. Livingstone’s “goggles of gloom” would make her predecessor—and no one else—proud.

Not a Flicker of Relevance

Livingstone’s latest experiment purportedly studies how early life experiences alter brain and visual development. But because her experiment can’t begin to mimic complex real-life situations, this torment succeeds only in harming monkeys and wasting taxpayer dollars.

Please take action by urging the director of the BRAIN Initiative to pull the plug on these pointless experiments.

John. J
Ngai, Ph.D.
BRAIN Initiative

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