Silver Spring Monkeys

PETA's most famous case was in 1981 where 17 macaque monkeys from the Philippines who lived inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland and were experimented on by Edward Taub.The 17 monkeys were made up of 16 male crab-eating macaques and one female rhesus macaque. Each monkey lived by itself in a wire cage 18 x 18 inches, with no padding, no food bowl, and no environmental enrichment. The cages were in a windowless room measuring 15 ft square. Their names were Chester, Paul, Billy, Hard Times, Domitian, Nero, Titus, Big Boy, Augustus, Allen, Montaigne, Sisyphus, Charlie, Brooks, Hayden, Adidas, and Sarah.

What did Taub do? Taub had cut afferent ganglia to stop all feeling from the monkeys limbs. He then set about using forms of restraint, electric shock, and starvation to force them to use the limbs they could not feel. Restraint was when Taub would restrain the limbs the monkeys could feel; forcing them to use the ones they couldn't to feed them selves. When Taub first started the research, he thought the monkeys would simply not use limbs they could not feel, but he was proved wrong. The monkeys started using those limbs when they were forced to. When the monkeys were able to rely on their good arms, they made no attempt to use their deafferented ones. Although, when Taub deafferented both arms, the monkeys used them. When electrodes were placed in the monkeys' brains, scientists could see that an "unprecedented degree of reorganization of the sensory cortex. An 8–10- millimeter-wide area that would normally receive input from the hand was found to have completely filled in with input from the face." The resaerch helped Taub developed therapy techniques to help people who had lost almost all feeling in their limbs (such as stroke victims) regain their feeling. By forcing the patient to use their affected limb, the brain grows new neural pathways that can conrol the limb.

What did PETA do?Alex Pacheco went undercover into the lab to document the conditions of the
monkeys. He wrote that the monkeys were in filthy conditions. He found frozen monkey corpses in the refrigerator and others floating in formaldehyde. He alleged that the surgery room was covered with soiled clothes, old shoes, rat droppings, and urine. Cockroches were everywhere, along with the surgical records of both monkeys and humans. He said the cages were covered in feces and urine, and there was nothing seperating the food from the feces. There was nothing for the monkeys to sit on but the bottom of the wire cages. He said that the monkeys attacked their deafferented limbs as if they were completely foreign. He specifically said "No one bothered to bandage the monkeys' injuries properly (on the few occasions when bandages were used at all), and antibiotics were administered only once; no lacerations or self-amputation injuries were ever cleaned. Whenever a bandage was applied, it was never changed, no matter how filthy or soiled it became. They were left on until they deteriorated to the point where they fell off the injured limb. Old, rotted fragments of bandage were stuck to the cage floors where they collected urine and faeces. The monkeys also suffered from a variety of wounds that were self-inflicted or inflicted by monkeys grabbing at them from adjoining cages. I saw discoloured, exposed muscle tissue on their arms. Two monkeys had bones protruding through their flesh. Several had bitten off their own fingers and had festering stubs, which they extended towards me as I discreetly took fruit from my pockets. With these pitiful limbs they searched through the foul mess of their waste pans for something to eat.