Practical Issues > Things To Do > Activism
Top Ten Reasons To Protest Harvard Saturday!

November 11, 2010

There are actually approximately 1800 reasons (the number of monkeys and other primates held captive and submitted to brutal invasive research by Harvard) to protest Harvard's New England Regional Primate Research Center this Saturday, but here's our top ten. (Protest details are found below the list.)

1. Many nations have severely restricted or banned primate research which shows that their governments believe that the cruelty to animals outweighs the medical merits of primate research.

2. By contrast, Harvard has increased its number of primates by at least 10-15% in the last 10 years (it is hard to give exact figures because Harvard recordkeeping is so varied that one year recently they had a "discrepancy" of 1200 primates).

3. Harvard is one of the few medical institutions in the country to still use electric shock on primates. One of the most common uses of electric shock is as a threat to force monkeys to take addictive drugs. Denial of food is another "methodology" used to force monkeys to take drugs.

4. Harvard seems to thrive on addicting animals to recreational drugs, having published over 75 papers on cocaine addiction alone. One does not have to be a graduate of Harvard to realize that studying recreational drug use in species who do not naturally take those drugs and who are forced to take them is both just plain sick and useless.

5. In 2004, a monkey choked to death at Harvard because he/she (sorry for the lack of gender specificity but the USDA report calls the poor animal "it") suffocated on a piece of plastic tubing while locked alone in a restraint chair while the vivisector literally went to lunch. Weak as the AWA (Animal Welfare Act) is, even it forbids leaving a primate alone in a restraint chair. Most recently, a poor monkey was killed (basically cooked to death) when his/her cage was sent through the cleaner - with the monkey still in the cage! This is outrageous.

6. NERPRC's Director Ronald Derosiers was on the "scientific advisory" board that claimed that the BU bioterror lab was both essential and safe. In conversations that we have had with a Boston Globe reporter, we've learned that NERPRC has claimed that they "did not, do not, and will never" have any financial connection to the Bioterror lab. This is more than a little bit odd because Desrosiers has admitted publicly that BU had promised NERPRC 3.1 million dollars to build a lab to "produce" primates for BU's bioterror lab. If they can't tell the truth about money, they won't tell the truth about anything else either.

7. Primates in labs suffer health problems and stress-related problems unknown in wild primates. Basic science says that experiments can only have one independent variable: if an animal is already sick or extremely stressed out (stress impairs the immune system), then experiments with this animal have multiple independent variables. In simple terms, the science sucks. It is so severe of a problem in lab animal populations that in 2003, 20% of the primates at NERPRC were involved in studies not of human health problems but of lab animal health problems!

8. That same study revealed that 89% of those primates suffered "psychological abnormalities", 1 in 4 injured themselves, and 1 in 9 injured themselves badly enough to need stitches. Bizarrely, monkeys that pulled their own hair weren't even counted as injuring themselves (Lutz, Well, and Novak 2003.

9. No laws regulate what actually happens in experiments. This is left up to in-house supposedly independent IACU committees that are supposed to review studies for animal cruelty (not that they'd ever use that word.) The industry argues that these committees prevent abuses and assure that animals are not harmed. In the 2004-2006 period, Harvard Medical School accumulated 11 violations of the AWA directly related to these IACU committees. This means that either the committees failed to do their job properly or that the vivisectors blatantly ignored the committees. This just proves what many animal law experts have repeatedly stated: no laws or regulations whatsoever really control what happens to animals in labs.

10. If you took PSYCH 101, you may remember the notorious Milgram experiments in which humans were manipulated into "shocking" subjects in supposed "negative reinforcement" experiments. The "shocking" was faked by professional actors out of sight of the subjects so no one was actually harmed in an experiemnt designed to see how far people would go in obeying authority even when it had destructive consequences. In multiple versions of the experiment done for decades around the world, between 60-65% of the subjects would have actually knowingly killed the other person if the shocks were real. In one version, 93% would have killed the other person. The only pressure on the human subjects was peer pressure.

By contrast, some sick soul designed a test (at we're sure taxpayer expense) to see if monkeys would shock other monkeys in order to get food. If they shocked the other monkey, they got food; if they didn't shock the monkey they didn't eat. Multiple monkeys refused to harm the other monkey even though it meant that they would go hungry. One monkey went 4 days straight without food (by comparison this would be like us going 20 days without food) rather than harm another monkey, and several went 2 days. Observations of chimps (Note-Harvard has no chimps that we know of) in the wild have shown that they take special care of group members with disabilities such as cerebral palsy with even the alpha males taking time to groom and nurture a monkey with cerebral palsy.

Our whole human justification for subjecting these animals to the brutal nightmare of their squandered existence is that we are morally superior to them and can do what we want to them. Don't these 3 studies show the lie behind all vivisection?

Please join us this Saturday at Harvard to protest these atrocities. (Details below.)


WHAT: A public protest for the thousands of primates enslaved and tortured by Harvard and to commemorate Primate Liberation Week. Please stand up us with in this true David vs. Goliath struggle against powerful and rich Harvard!

WHEN: Saturday, November 13, 1-3pm.

WHERE: Harvard Square, Massachusetts Ave, across from Au Bon Pain and "The Pit" in Cambridge on Massachusetts Avenue.

RSVP/INFO: Please RSVP at:  or just answer this email. Signs, banners, & literature provided.

WHY: Primate research is on the rise! NIH-funded primate research rose 67% in the past ten years. 93% of primate experiments funded by the NIH are not relevant to major diseases.

Every day, animals are burned, cut, maimed, addicted to drugs, starved, and given fatal diseases, often with no anesthesia. In fact, no federal law regulates what happens to animals during actual experiments. Even food, water, medical care, and infant access to mothers can be denied if it is deemed to be necessary for the experimental conditions. Law enforcement is notoriously lax, and ethical decisions are made by industry insiders, often co- workers and friends of the researchers.

Called the New England Primate Research Center (NEPRC), this facility is part of the Harvard Medical School and is one of the 8 Primate Research Centers in the nation. Harvard was very smart to locate NEPRC in Southborough - very little foot and car traffic there - so we will stand up for these animals at the very gates of Harvard U in Cambridge!

One of our banners is a quote by Dr. Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist, and reads, "We shouldn't be expanding the primate research centers. We should be closing them down, all of them. That people can go to work and allow such barbaric conditions to continue, is a very black mark against humanity."

DIRECTIONS: (Call on cell, listed above, on day of the protest if you need on-the-spot help.)

Via Public Transportation (best option):

Take the Red Line to the Harvard stop; or take any number of buses that come to Harvard Square. For more information and schedules, visit the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) . Come up out of the T station and you will immediately need to turn right and right again as walking back aboveground over where you just came. (You are basically just going around the station.) We will be across the street to the left (And across the street from Au Bon Pain and "The Pit".)

By Car: (You can also go to:  and type in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.)

From the Mass Pike - East and Westbound): Take Exit 18 (Allston-or Brighton/Cambridge). Go through toll booth and bear right towards Cambridge, then get into far left lane at set of traffic lights. At 2nd traffic light (before the bridge across from the Doubletree Guest Suite Hotel) turn left onto Storrow Drive; Soldiers Field Road; exit at Harvard Square. Turn right to cross the bridge. You will be on JFK Street headed into Harvard Square. Find parking (see below for info).

From The South (I-93 North): Heading north on Route 93 take the Mass Pike. Then see above under Mass Pike directions.

From The North (I-93 South): Heading south on Route 93 exit onto Storrow Drive west. Take Harvard Square/Cambridge exit, turn right and proceed over bridge and across Memorial Drive onto JFK Street and into Harvard Square. Find parking (see below for info).

From Logan Airport: As you leave the airport, follow signs to Rt. 90, Mass. Turnpike West. Then see above under Mass Pike directions.


Street parking is available on surrounding streets in Harvard Square but spots can be hard to find. One and two hour meters require payment (quarters only) Monday through Saturday between 8am and 6pm. Here is a map showing parking garages/lots:

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