UCLA is Conducting Cruel Brain Experiments on Monkeys

Amy Meyer, October 22, 2019

There are grotesque, invasive brain experiments happening to monkeys inside laboratories at UCLA with your tax dollars. You need to know what is happening behind closed doors.

Experimenters cut open the monkey’s head and implant a head holder device that they secure by drilling multiple screws into the monkey’s skull. Then, they push a needle through the monkey’s eye to implant a wire loop. The monkeys are forced to undergo a second surgery later where a larger hole is cut from their skull and a metal plate is implanted deep inside their brain. But this is only the beginning of their suffering.

Experimenters fit the monkeys with a bulky collar that they use to hook a restraint pole to every time they need to move them from their cage to the experiment chair. In order to “train” the monkeys to “accept the pole for restraint,” experimenters withhold water from the monkeys so that they will be thirsty enough to obey orders.

In fact, throughout their lives in the lab, these monkeys are deprived of water to coerce them into behavior that experimenters want. It doesn’t take them long to learn to follow orders so they can finally have some water, one drop at a time.

*Image taken directly from UCLA Protocol Form

*Image taken directly from UCLA Protocol Form

Nearly every day, experimenters take the monkeys out of their cage and into the experiment lab where they immobilize the monkey’s head by attaching the device screwed into their heads to a restraint chair. Then the experimenters proceed with the “trials,” things like a spot of light projected on a screen in front of the monkey. The monkey’s “task” is to stare at the spot for a certain amount of time. If they obey, they get a drop of water. Having being kept thirsty and yearning water, the monkeys will put up with the experimental sessions for 3-6 hours.

The monkeys are forced to go through the routine at least 5 days a week for months, potentially up to two years. Then, when the experimenters have collected all the data they want, they kill the monkeys and saw open their skulls to pull the brain out for further dissection.

And this is just one of a few currently active grants that Michele Basso has at UCLA. This one grant alone is sucking up nearly $3.7 million taxpayer dollars over the course of the 3-year grant period. Local grassroots activists with Progress for Science started campaigning against Basso’s invasive primate research years ago.

“Our group Progress for Science has been spreading awareness about and protesting animal experimentation at UCLA for years. We find that most incoming students have little or no awareness of what happens to animals at their campus and they certainly don’t know that a researcher like Basso who has such a troubling past at another institution was hired by their school. Our current outreach material seeks to change that.”

— Cory Mac a’Ghobhainn, Progress for Science Organizer

California is rapidly becoming a leader in advancing the wellbeing of animals, but the nearly 50,000 AWA-protected animals (not including the most commonly used animals in labs – rats, mice, birds, and fish) experimented on in California labs every year have seen no progress. In fact, earlier this year state “lab gag” legislation tried to further bury the truth of animal cruelty inside laboratories.

While it’s too late to have your voice heard on this issue it’s not too late to help animals suffering in labs. Add your first name and email address to the Stay Connected form below to learn about all the ways you free animals from  labs.