UW-Madison Evasion Hides Public Records and Details of Infant Monkey Experiments

Posted by Kelsey Eberly, Litigation Fellow on November 16, 2015


Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed its final brief in support of its motion for summary judgment in a case that has pitted animal welfare and public records advocates against the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). Last October, ALDF sued the University for refusing to disclose to ALDF the full public records from federally-mandated animal welfare oversight committees that reviewed and approved a controversial “maternal deprivation” research protocol on infant primates. Such research proposed to take newborn rhesus macaque monkeys away from their mothers, subject them to frightening and anxiety-inducing stressors including live snakes, and inflict a battery of invasive tests and procedures before killing them by the age of two.

Over a year after ALDF filed its case, UW remains obstinate in its refusal to allow public access to these records concerning taxpayer-funded research, while its arbitrary records withholding policy has already inflicted irreparable harm to the public interest. Indeed, as ALDF learned last spring, UW previously destroyed pages and pages of documents that ALDF had sought concerning the maternal deprivation research. ALDF filed an amended complaint seeking more documents last May, but significant damage has already been done. If UW has its way, the public will never be able to exercise its right of government oversight, protected by the public records law, to know the extent of the oversight committees’ discussion leading to its approval of such highly controversial research on infant monkeys.

Meanwhile, details about the experiments remain murkier than ever. In March of this year, UW alleged that the research design was changed to remove the maternal deprivation element (previously its central feature), but ALDF has seen no independent confirmation of this assertion. UW has now attempted to stymie ALDF from learning about this change by delaying its response to ALDF’s renewed records request for seven months, and proposing to charge an outrageous sum (over $12,000) to search for and disclose relevant records.

UW’s continual attempts to shift the playing field—about what is happening to the baby monkeys, and about what documents are at issue in ALDF’s public records case—is little more than a smokescreen. ALDF will not rest until it gets to the bottom of what UW is doing to baby monkeys in the name of “science,” and until the court has set the University straight on the public’s right to obtain the complete records of this taxpayer-funded animal research.


36 thoughts on “UW-Madison Evasion Hides Public Records and Details of Infant Monkey Experiments

  1. Jamie Knee says:

    Stop the torture immediately!

  2. Lisa Courter says:

    This meaningless madness has got to stop

  3. Linda Mallery says:

    No more experiments on monkeys or dogs

  4. Mike Parks says:

    The experiments themselves are heinous enough. The Anti-Vivisection League has already shown that a good 90% of animal tests are completely without merit, but that’s beside the point I am making here. It’s the attempt to cover it all up that earns these people a swift kick in the ass, in my opinion. Fire everybody. Liars are scum.

  5. Cathy Policky says:

    Obviously, when you go through so much trouble to hide something, you must really have something to hide…

  6. tony wessley says:

    Stop torturing animals. I hope everyone involved dies a slow painful death. Makes me sick

  7. Astevia says:

    It is repugnant to know that some people get a higher education to learn how torture innocent sentient beings. Evil is all around us.

  8. Deena Hodges says:

    It is offensive to abuse innocent animals for the intellectual entertainment of humans

  9. Pat says:

    How dare u this is cruel n disgusting stop this unnessary experiment now

  10. John M. Di Ionno says:

    “maternal deprivation” research protocol on infant primates. Such research proposed to take newborn rhesus macaque monkeys away from their mothers, subject them to frightening and anxiety-inducing stressors including live snakes, and inflict a battery of invasive tests and procedures before killing them by the age of two.” This is so unnecessary ! Research like this has BEEN DONE decades ago ! University of WisconSIN, go fuck yourselves !!!

  11. Marie Rickard says:

    These experiments are archaic and irrational. They no longer (if they ever did) function to develop better science. Let’s just stop the madness. We have much more accurate and more humane methods.

  12. Martha L. Taylor says:

    This scientific experimentation is totally wrong and inhumane. Stop this project immediately. Totally wrong. Animal testing must be stopped across-the-board in this society today!

  13. erin craig says:

    Please stop this torture!

  14. Lorita Bowgren says:


  15. Cindy Vlahovich says:

    No testing on any monkey !!!!

  16. Vicky Humbarger says:

    This needs to stop.This is cruel band does not need to happen.

  17. Dr Deborah Swanson says:

    Stop this cruel and unnecessary work. If you wouldn’t use human, on what moral.grounds can you justify using sentient beings that Feel pain and fear and need love. Animals are our equals. Time to face this.

  18. Elsa says:

    We Need your help

  19. Brittney Fromeyer says:

    Please help them

  20. beclard says:


  21. Ann M Phelps says:

    Separate baby monkeys from their Mothers, and scare them, to learn what, exactly? Who came up with this asinine test/torture? You call yourselves College people? I went to High School, and I am far, far smarter than you on the outcome of this Maternal Deprivation Test…what sadists.Were you raised without a Mother?

  22. Claudia Christiansen says:

    It is clearly a cover up because they know it it’s just plain wrong on so many levels, and they will lose their useless jobs torturing innocent little babies, in the name of science. Keep this on the front page. Nice work ALDF!

  23. This is so horrible and beyond the limits of cruelty. STOP this NOW!

  24. Penny Slack says:

    Hide the records!

  25. kathy fischer says:

    Shame on UW-Madison !!!! Is this what is a considered ‘Higher Education’ ? Shame !!!
    How do you Sleep at Night knowing what you are doing. Stop Torturing Animals Now !!!!!!

  26. Anne Montarou says:

    No more experiments on any animal

  27. Janet Fink says:

    Respect for life begins, not ends with animals.

  28. sarah weisberg says:

    This is not only a malicious act against animal rights but on people’s right to knowledge… funny how those two often go hand in hand. People deserve the truth and animals deserve rights!!!

  29. J A Christon says:

    So University Educators/Researchers, You get the money for your departments and programs by writing a Grant (free money) Proposal based on the need to torture and disect animals in tests and research that, often has already be done by some other group somewhere. The truth is that you’ve become numb and blind to the suffering you create. Nothing can wash away the horror you inflict. Research can be done using computer intelligence. NASA and physicists do it all the time. You don’t need animals.

  30. Sara Lemerman says:

    I am glad to hear that the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is acting on protecting these innocent creatures and informing the public about the mistreatment of animals, specifically monkeys, at the University of Madison Wisconsin. I believe that it is essential for the public to know what goes down at these research facilities especially if this research is funded by taxpayers. By denying and destroying proof of treating these monkeys wrongly is not only going against the law and the right to public records but overall are hurting the monkeys most of all. Maternal Deprivation is a major issue when conducting research on infant monkeys because it effects the experiments done on monkeys and the way they live the rest of their lives. It is essential to provide information on the details of the experiments done on these monkeys in order to fulfil the governmental and public right to be informed. This is very important that ALDF cracks down on UW-Madison to protect the rights of these innocent animals.

  31. Neha says:

    This has to stop…
    Wat is the government doing

  32. Edna Chavez says:

    Stop useless experiments on animals, their anatomies an physiologiies different from human ones!!!!

  33. John Pasqua says:

    must end all cruelty on animals now.

  34. Donna Page says:

    ALDF continue your lawsuit but increase your damages by $1,000 for every week they refuse to turn over the files. And for you UW-Madison SHAME on your sick minds. How dare you say any of what you are doing is research. The experiments on these sweet little innocent monkeys can’t produce any kind of useful knowledge. And I totally agree with everything that has already been said regarding your sick asinine idiotic horrible torture.

  35. Gary Page says:

    All so called medical “research” is so totally wrong on so many levels. It all must stop! I wish all “researchers” to burn in hell !

  36. Dawn Nelson says:

    All “testing” on animals must stop now! For God’s sake….this is the 21st century…..why are these atrcoties still being perpetrated in the name of science on poor defenseless animals. There have to be other ways to do testing in this day and age that do not require animals.

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!


Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.

Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.