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CU Medical Center Tortures
helpless Monkeys in Useless
Maternal Deprivation Experiments

For over 20 years, The National Institute of Mental Health has committed approximately $7 million to fund maternal deprivation experiments at the University of Colorado, in Denver, Colorado. Martin Reite and Mark Laudenslager have conducted social separation and deprivation experiments in pigtail and bonnet macaque monkeys to study effects of early - life social disruption on human behavior and immunological status.

Reite and Laudenslager have separated monkeys from their mothers, families and peers for varying periods of time to study their behavioral and physiological reactions. Infant monkeys are implanted with monitoring devices, blood is drawn regularly, and behavior consisting of crying for their mothers, shaking, clasping themselves, social withdrawal, and slouched posture is recorded. Although Martin Reite has led and participated in these experiments in prior years, currently Mark Laudenslader is the principal and sole experimenter separating infant monkeys from their mothers at this institution.

These experiments are a waste and have contributed nothing to our understanding of the consequences of social separation in humans. For more than forty years, researchers have studied the effects of attachment deprivation and maternal deprivation on human infants, children, and adolescents. As early as 1965, John Bowlby, and other pioneers in the field of studying attachment disorders in children, showed that human infants raised in orphanages with little stimulation and human contact, developed failure to thrive, developed psychological disorders, and frequently died. Fundamental and landmark studies of human attachment deprivation in children from backgrounds of abuse, parental loss, and other significant events have been conducted for over twenty years by Ainsworth and colleagues.

Studies of the effects of mother deprivation and attachment deprivation on human children are conducted at many institutions in the United States, Europe, and Israel. For example, Dr. Eve Spratt studies children's adjustment to adversity at the Medical University of North Carolina. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a part of National Institutes of Health, recently completed a major cross-sectional study of attachment bonds formed between human mother and infant when infants are place in daycare. The effects of separation from fathers on child and adolescent development also have been studied extensively in human infants, children, and adolescents. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood conducted over several years in the United Kingdom studied links between sibling relationships, mother-partner, and parent-child relationships in a community sample of 3681 sibling pairs. Emotional and physical effects of attachment deprivation and maternal deprivation have been studied in children raised in Greek and Rumanian orphanages. The psychological and medical literature documents hundreds and hundreds of studies that have been done examining both the physical and emotional effects of maternal deprivation and attachment deprivation on human infants, children, and adolescents. Since these studies directly relate to human mother deprivation, funding would be more appropriately directed toward the continuation of this research rather than useless and transparently cruel animal experiments.

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References and Selected Bibliography


  • Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1964). Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 10, 51-58.Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1967). Infancy in Uganda: infant care and the growth of love. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1982). Attachment: Retrospect and prospect. In C.M. Parkes and J. Stevenson-Hinde (Ed.), The place of attachment in human behavior (pp. 3-30). New York: Basic Books.
  • Ainsworth, M.D.S., Blehar, M.C., Waters, E. & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of Attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment. New York: Basic Books.
  • Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss: Vol.2. Separation, anxiety, and anger. New York. Basic Books.
  • Donatas, C., Maratos, O., Fafoutis, M., & Karangelis, A. (1985). Early social development in institutionally reared Greek infants: Attachment and peer interaction. In I. Bretherton & E. Waters. Growing points of attachment theory and research. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 50 (1-2, Serial 153).
  • Golding, J., Pembrey, M., Jones, R. ALSPAC--the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children I. Study methodology. ALSPAC Study Team. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2001 Jan;15(1):74-87
  • Hanson, R. F. and Spratt, Eve G. (2000). Reactive Attachment Disorder: What we know about the disorder and implications for treatment. Child Maltreatment, Vol. 5, No. 2, May, pp. 137-145.
  • Lowinger, S. Dimitrosky, L. Strauss H. and Mogilner, C. (1995). Maternal social and physical contact: links to early infant attachment behaviors. Journal of Genetic Psychology, Dec., Vol. 156., pp. 461-477.
  • NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (1997). The effects of infant child care on infant-mother attachment security: Results of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care. Child Development, 68 (5), 860-879.
  • A detailed bibliography of human studies of attachment and attachment disorders, including the effects of maternal deprivation and other forms of attachment deprivation, can be assembled by using PubMed, the online search engine of the National Library of Medicine. PubMed may be accessed at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/ Use search terms: attachment deprivation, attachment disorder, and maternal deprivation.

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