Monkey Business; the Founding of Peta, and the Silver Spring Monkey Case

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The Silver Spring Monkey Case which involves the mistreatment of monkeys in The Institute for Behavioral Research started People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) turned out to be one of the biggest, most profitable, and fast growing animal rights groups. PETA and its founder Alex Pacheco attracted the public’s attention with the Silver Spring Monkey Case and the reaction of the public and other animal right’s associations started an animal rights revolution. Alex Pacheco was cofounder to PETA and is a national leader in the Animal rights movement. (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, 2) Pacheco first got into animal rights on a trip to the slaughterhouse which left him “shaken.” Soon after that he joined Sea Shepherd, an animal rights group that fights against the unnecessary and inhuman slaughter of sea animals, and he also fought for animal rights in England (Pacheco, 1). When Pacheco was in college he got a volunteering opportunity at the Institute for Behavioral Research (IBR) in Silver Spring Maryland, and while he was there he uncovered the monstrosities of the institute and of animal testing and started the famous sliver spring monkey case. During his work in the laboratory he uncovered animal cruelty toward the monkeys in the lab. He alerted the police which resulted in the first police raid of a laboratory of its kind. (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, 2) Edward Taub was the chief animal experimenter at IBR. (Francione, 72) Edward Taub did not have any medical training, although, his laboratory was still funded federally. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Taub was testing the monkeys to see the possibility of human stroke victims regaining use of their limbs. Taub created an animal “model” of limb atrophy by a surgical procedure called somatosensory deafferentation which involved severing all the nerves so all sensation to the monkeys’ limbs were eliminated. (Francione, 72) Then Taub would perform experiments to see if the monkey could learn to use their deafferented limbs by the application of electric shocks and other painful procedures. (Francione, 73) Edward Taub gave Alex Pacheco a job at IBR thinking he was a college student, not knowing he was from the newly formed animal rights group PETA. This of course led to Pacheco going undercover to expose the monstrosities of the lab and then causing PETA to grow larger and then of course, an animal rights revolution.

The Institute for Behavioral Research employed Alex Pacheco as a volunteer and as a helper to Georgette Yakalis. On May 11th 1981 Alex Pacheco started his work at IBR and was given a tour by Edward Taub. (Pacheco, 135-147) “The Institute was divided into two areas. The rooms near the front were used for work with humans. They appeared unremarkable. The animals were kept in the back” (Pacheco, 135-147). This excerpt is important because it shows how well IBR covered up all there short comings with the treatment of the monkeys and the facility. IBR work a mask, an unremarkable normal-looking mask, but behind that mask was a disgusting facility which fell short to a normal, good laboratory in many ways, their number one shortcoming being how they treated their monkeys. “As we went through the doors to that section, I had my first indication that something was wrong. The smell was incredible, intensifying as we entered the colony room where the monkeys were kept. I was astonished as I began to comprehend the conditions before me. I saw filth caked on the wires of the cages, faeces piled in the bottom of the cages, urine and rust encrusting every surface. There, amid this rotting stench, sat sixteen crab-eating macaques and one rhesus monkey, their lives limited to metal boxes just 173/4 inches wide.” (Pacheco, 135-147) In this passage Pacheco describes what happens when he first enters where they test on the defenseless monkeys. These conditions would get out, and then shock generations to come, their reactions being anger...
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