Take Action

It's 2008: Why are Monkeys Still Being Killed in Nicotine Experiments?

Take Action to urge university and government officials to cancel cruel and useless experiments


It has been known for decades that smoking causes cancer and a host of other serious, life-threatening diseases. We also know that women who smoke during pregnancy are likely to harm their babies. So why, in the year 2008, are millions of tax dollars still being used to fund lethal nicotine experiments on mother and baby monkeys at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU)?

Apparently, so that OHSU researcher Elliot Spindel can help Big Tobacco find a way for women to continue smoking during pregnancy without damaging their unborn children. He studies this "problem" by implanting nicotine pumps into the backs of pregnant monkeys, and slicing their fetuses out of their wombs at various developmental stages to dissect their lungs. In other cases, mothers are allowed to give birth, but their babies are torn away by researchers soon afterward, as an IDA staff member witnessed with his own eyes, causing the mothers severe grief and traumatizing the newborn infants.

Pregnancy, by the way, has been shown to be a most successful motivator to convince smoking women to quit. Wouldn't it be nice for Big Tobacco if this troublesome motivator were eliminated?

Adding insult to injury, we're paying for this barbaric research with $7.6 million in grant money given to Spindel by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1992, with payment scheduled to continue through 2012. In an era when smoking continues to kill millions worldwide every year, it is outrageous for an institution of higher learning to conduct lethal nicotine studies on animals in order to increase smoking, especially when that money could and should instead be used for programs to prevent people from smoking and help smokers quit. Unfortunately, it seems that Spindel, OHSU, and the NIH are in the pocket of the tobacco lobby—we are paying for it with our tax dollars, and monkeys are paying with their lives.

IDA's Northwest Coordinator Matt Rossell, who spent two years as an undercover animal care provider at OHSU and has been inside Spindel's lab, is spearheading our campaign to stop these cruel experiments. He has already led 10 outreach events in Portland to educate people about how their tax dollars are being spent to torture and kill monkeys so that tobacco companies can sell more cigarettes.

Rossell and a dedicated band of activists have leafleted at OHSU's clinics, hospitals, and the Oregon National Primate Research Center, as well as a series of OHSU-sponsored "Brain Awareness" academic lectures, convincing many concerned citizens to contact university officials demanding cancellation of Spindel's experiments. Every Sunday, Rossell and company make house calls in Portland neighborhoods, putting out door-hangers for residents that explain what they can do to help the monkeys. In a 30-minute interview on KBOO Community Radio (90.7 FM), Rossell also recently regaled listeners with first-hand tales of the terrible anguish that monkeys in Spindel's lab suffer when babies are ripped from their helpless mothers for nicotine experiments.

There is no excuse for such heartless torture in the name of "science." IDA is determined to snuff out Spindel's tobacco-promoting experiments and end these monkeys' suffering. Please help.

What You Can Do:

  • Please Take Action to urge OHSU and NIH officials to immediately cancel and stop funding Spindel's cruel nicotine experiments on monkeys.
  • If you live near Portland, join Matt Rossell and the rest of the Northwest IDA team by volunteering for the campaign against Spindel. Email for more information on how you can help.
  • Please donate to IDA to help us win this battle to stop killing monkeys for cigarettes.