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Terrorizing Monkeys with Mr. Potato Head is Research?

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By Alisa Mullins

Just when you thought experiments on animals couldn't get any more cruel or absurd, the good folks at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) managed to come up with an experiment on baby monkeys that's so cruel and ridiculous it might even give Harry "Monster Mother" Harlow pause.

ONPRC experimenter Kevin Grove is spending $750,000 in taxpayer money per year to make monkeys fat and play mind games with their babies. First he feeds pregnant monkeys unhealthy high-fat diets.

After the babies are born (many preterm babies were cut out of their mothers' wombs and immediately killed so that their brains could be dissected), he attempts to scare the bejeezus out of them by putting things in their cages that he knows they are afraid of, including Mr. Potato Head dolls.

Yes, you read that right. If that doesn't do the trick, he engages the baby monkeys in staring contests. Yes, you read that right too.

The breathtaking conclusion of this baby-bullying in the name of science? Monkeys who are born to mothers who ate high-fat diets are more easily stressed and frightened than babies born to mothers who ate healthy diets. G

ee, couldn't he have hung out at the local McDonald's and learned the same thing? Of course, if more people were vegan, any potential maternal-diet-related harms to babies would be minimized and people who torment animals for a living by purportedly investigating these problems—like ONPRC's Kevin Grove—might well be out of a job.

As part of our own little experiment, we attempted to scare the bejeezus out of attendees of the conference where the results of this study were presented by holding a protest.

Our findings? People who torment animals for a living are terrified at the idea that the public will find out about it. Take that, Mr. Potato Head.


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