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Monkey researchers in Germany face animal cruelty charges

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Three researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI) are facing charges of animal cruelty

We welcome the decision by the state prosecutor’s office in Tübingen, Germany to initiate criminal proceedings against three researchers at the MPI institute on the grounds of animal cruelty. Allegations against the researchers include causing “significant and longer-lasting harm” to three monkeys after failing to end brain experiments on welfare grounds. The three researchers have filed an appeal and a court hearing may now take place.

Information leading to the charges was discovered through a joint undercover investigation by Cruelty Free International in 2014, made possible by our supporters. Our investigation uncovered the brutal ways in which monkeys were being used in brain experiments at the MPI. We were shocked to discover that some monkeys were subjected to major head surgery, water deprivation and physical restraint.

Thanks to our supporters, our investigation sparked a debate across Europe about the use of primates in brain research. It gained the backing of scientists, primatologists and animal welfare experts including Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall. Two years later, in 2016, the MPI announced that it would end using primates in these controversial experiments.

Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International, says: “We were shocked by the level of suffering these intelligent and social animals were subjected to and hope justice will be done for the monkeys who suffered inside the confines of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics.”