Stop testing on baby monkeys: UW-Madison Resurrects Infant Isolation Studies
Action Alert from


Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
September 2014


The University of Wisconsin-Madison recently announced that it intends to resume "maternal deprivation" experiments on monkeys. These experiments remove newborn rhesus macaques from their mothers, isolate the infants, and expose them to various stressors -- including a live snake. The babies are killed before they reach their second birthday.

Earlier this year, an experiment that recalls those dark days was approved by the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) as a way to study anxiety in humans. Nothing in the Act limits what might be done to an animal so long as it receives ACUC approval. Experimenters will say that the cloth and peer rearing do minimize distress and they will say that they did consider alternatives and that there are none.  

Harry Harlow maternal deprivation
Harry Harlow with one of his "experimental tools" infant monkey

Contact the Dane County Board of Supervisors encouraging them to support this Resolution. Please edit the letter below to tell the Executive Committee who you are -- let them know if you are a UW alum, UW donor, or have another university affiliation.

Sign ALDF's online petition here

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

UW System President
Ray Cross
phone (608) 262-2321

Chancellor Rebecca Blank
Joseph Parisi
Carousel Bayrd
Carl Chenoweth
Jennifer Dye
Mary Kolar
David Ripp
Sharon Corrigan
Sheila Shelia
c/o Dane County Board of Supervisors
210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 106B
Madison, WI 53703
phone (608) 266-5758
online feedback form 

Sign American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) online petition here

Want to do more?

Attend the public hearing to testify for 3-5 minutes and/or register in support of the resolution
Thursday, September 4, 2014
5:30 PM
Room 354, City County Building
210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

maternal deprivation kinship circle


[Note from Read Murry J. Cohen, M.D.: UW's monkey maternal deprivation studies are a farce AND University experts stumble over facts.]

In a 2011 protocol outlining this study, which will involve 40 baby macaques, Principle Investigator Dr. Ned Kalin stated that “[a]t birth, infants will be removed from their mothers and placed immediately in an incubator with a surrogate stuffed animal, towels, and /or blankets. As shown by Harlow (1958), infants will form attachment bonds to these items, which provide contact comfort as early as one day of life.” When the monkeys are about one year old, they will be exposed to situations meant to provoke anxiety and fear, such as the presence of a live snake. At the end of the experiment, all 40 monkeys will be killed and their brains analyzed.

Regardless, this protocol is contrary to a 1985 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that requires scientists to provide a “physical environment adequate to promote the psychological well-being of primates,” as well as “ensure that animal pain and distress are minimized” and that “alternatives to such procedures be considered.”

The University’s IACUC is mandated to ensure that researchers adhere to all AWA regulations, particularly regarding consideration of alternatives that minimize pain and distress or replace animals in an experiment. Apparently, the IACUC has failed to do this. What’s also concerning is that Kalin’s psychological research has brought in millions of taxpayer dollars to the University, and for this specific study alone, he was awarded over $500,000.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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