April 20, 2022
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Amherst, Mass. – After University of Massachusetts (UMass) President Marty Meehan spoke about the importance of “open debate” in his 2022 State of the University address—even going so far as to say that universities “must not let our discomfort with conflict diminish our commitment to … the exploration of difficult topics”— PETA today challenged him to make good on his words. The group invited him to a public debate with PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe on UMass experimenter Agnès Lacreuse’s menopause studies on marmoset monkeys. Lacreuse’s experiments are scientifically flawed for numerous reasons—including because marmosets don’t even naturally experience menopause.
In the tests, Lacreuse and her colleagues zip-tie frightened monkeys into restraining devices, drill into their skulls and implant electrodes, cut open their necks to expose muscle, and thread electrode leads from the scalp and neck to the abdomen. To mimic hot flashes in the marmosets, they heat the animals’ bodies with hand warmers, like those placed in mittens during winter. Eventually, the small, delicate animals are killed and dissected.
“Marty Meehan encourages open discussion but only if it suits him,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “He should practice what he preaches and go head to head with a PETA neuroscientist about his school’s pointless torment of fragile marmoset monkeys.”
Meehan has previously skirted PETA’s attempts to discuss the experiments: Concerned animal advocates recently caused a ruckus at a UMass alumni event in Florida, during which Meehan offered to meet after the event. PETA followed up the next day to schedule a meeting, only for him to refuse the request.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited UMass for many violations of federal animal welfare laws. In one instance, a marmoset was severely burned with a heating pad as he was recovering from surgery. Another violation occurred when a marmoset escaped from a device that restrained him and was injured during recapture by staff.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.