A US lab has been made to disclose videos of cruel experiments it performed on pregnant and baby monkeys following a legal challenge by animal rights campaigners PETA.
The experiments involved making Japanese snow monkey macaques addicted to booze, nicotine and junk foods by feeding them experimental diets.
In other tests baby monkeys are torn away from their mothers to see how they react to stress during the $218m taxpayer-funded experiments.
The disturbing footage was published after the National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro, Oregon, was found guilty of 12 violations related to the welfare of its animals since 2017, PETA say.
Multnomah County Judge David Rees ordered the centre release 74 videos in the public interest earlier this year.
Video excerpts released on Monday show “junk food” experiments, which involved impregnating monkeys and feeding some of them lard.
Other experiments at the facility have included getting them hooked on nicotine and alcohol.
The babies were separated from their mothers or friends, placed in an unfamiliar room, and locked inside a small, barren cage, where they were deliberately frightened in “human intruder tests."
During these tests, experimenters threatened the terrified, traumatised animals by staring at them—which they see as an aggressive act.
In addition experimenters killed most—if not all—of the young monkeys when they were just 13 months old ,PETA claims.
Following the ruling PETA Vice President Dr Alka Chandna said: “It’s easy to see why OHSU tried so hard to hide these cruel, pointless ‘junk food’ experiments.
"This indefensible abuse of sensitive monkeys must stop now.”
The court had previously ruled the lab, which is still home to 6,000 monkeys, was "found in violation of internal and external regulations" following a lawsuit filed by PETA.
"The public has an interest in knowing how public [National Institutes of Health] grant funding is being spent and whether the experiments at issue are a worthy use of public funds," Judge Rees ruled.
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The videos which were described in a peer-reviewed study, are said to show behavioural studies being carried out into the anxiety and stress responses of 11-month-old Japanese macaques.
This included experiments such as a "novel object test" and a "human intruder test," according to the judge which involved deliberately frightening the animals.
Other videos show behavioural research on young monkeys whose mothers were fed high-fat diets, court records show.
Other experiments at the facility include "forcing the animals to eat lard and addicting them to nicotine and alcohol", PETA allege.
"These kinds of videos are highly controversial because they inflict pain and suffering on baby monkeys," said Martina Bernstein, PETA's senior litigation counsel.
Following the order to release the videos PETA added: "OHSU was happy to take millions of tax dollars to impregnate monkeys, feed them 'junk food,' and then separate the baby monkeys from their mothers in order to deliberately frighten them – but it fought tooth and nail against releasing the videos of this horror."
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The allegations about mistreatment come after the OHSU's Primate Research Center was previously found guilty of a dozen violations related to the welfare of its animals since 2017.
In response to the recent court ruling about the release of its videos, an OHSU spokesperson said: "OHSU and other premier biomedical research centers around the world strongly believe that faculty should have the right to perform research — and to keep confidential such research and related research data — at a minimum, until published in peer-reviewed publications."
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