Fattening Up Monkeys to Test Human Obesity Drugs

Have you ever wondered how scientists come up with those miracle weight-loss drugs?


They force monkeys to become fat and lazy by keeping them in cages and stuffing them with rich foods and syrupy drinks – making them morbidly obese and sick.


According to a story from the New York Times monkeys from the Oregon National Primate Research Center are routinely fattened to twice their normal weight to test weight-loss and diabetes medications for humans.


Monkeys are preferred by researchers because they “resemble humans much more than laboratory rats” both physically and emotionally.  For instance, primates will eat to entertain themselves when they get bored.


Shiva’s Story

One young adult monkey named Shiva was fattened up to a morbidly obese weight of 45 pounds to test medications for human weight related illnesses.  He gained 15 pounds in six months. 


He was fed a diet of pellets with about one-third of the calories coming from fat.  He also snacked on peanut butter, popcorn, peanuts and fruit-flavored punch made with high fructose.


And although Shiva grew up in a colony of monkeys and craved social interaction, he was kept in a private cage so his food intake could be accurately monitored. 


The cage also forced Shiva to become a “couch-potato” so that he didn’t skew the test results by doing any exercise.


The Research

With all of the obese people in the United States you might wonder why research on human obesity isn’t being done with human subjects.  After all, any new drug will eventually need a human trial before it can be released.


Dr. Kevin L. Grove, a neuroscientist who manages the “obese resource” section of the Oregon research center gave this answer,“Nonhuman primates don’t lie to you.  We know exactly how much they are eating.”  He accused people of “fudging” when they reported their daily calorie intake.


Currently there are 150 “rotund” rhesus monkeys at the Oregon primate center.  Some receive daily insulin shots to treat diabetes and some have clogged arteries.  One monkey died from a heart attack.


Once the primates are fat enough, they are given experimental weight-loss drugs or made to undergo weight-loss surgery, such as one study that tried to determine the success of bariatric operations.


There have even been experiments using pregnant monkeys to test what happens to their babies when their mother is fed a high-fat diet. 


This study found the babies had chemical changes in their brains and were more prone to anxiety.


Animal rights organizations like PETA protested this study and tried to stop the research.


Dr. Grove wasn’t fazed by PETA’s criticism. He told the New York Times, “I applaud them for that pressure because it makes us do our job better.”


Dr. Grove also warned that using obese monkeys is a growing trend, especially in countries like China where pharmaceutical research is cheap.



Creative Commons - Photograffic


William C
William C2 months ago

Terrible, thanks for the information.

W. C
W. C2 months ago

Thank you for caring.

antonia maestre
antonia maestre5 years ago

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Elisabeth M.
lis Gunn6 years ago

If we evolved from the apes, some of us haven't evolved very far. Why is it that scientists and pharmaceutical companies are so fixated on weight reduction products, sexual enhancement therapies (like Viagra) and other lifestyle problems? Why are they not interested in researching malaria and TB eradication? Because there is no money in such developing nations problems.
And given that primates seem to be are nearest relatives, why are we treating them so appallingly?

valerie g.
valerie g.6 years ago

I don't believe in animal testing of any kind. we are smart enough to come up with alternate models, compassionate scientists know this. the rest of them need to understand that the ends do not justify the means, that causing great suffering in some to help others, is just not okay. animal testing is big, crappy, dirty business. regarding the obesity issue....it's called DIET and EXERCISE. there's a reason some people (and populations are fat and some are not. if you change your diet, lifestyle, and start moving, you will lose weight. it's MAGIC.

Louise P.
Louise P.6 years ago

Are you kidding me? Testing cancer medications on animals I do understand, but diet pills? It is a joke, seriously. This victim mentality in humans is ridiculous. Treating obesity does not need research - stop stuffing your face and get off your couch, very easy and no animal needs to suffer.

Darren Tortoise Protectio
Darren G6 years ago

Thank You for sharing

Bill K.
Bill K6 years ago

one of the best example of why animal testing doesn't work is for decades tobacco companies were able to "prove" cigarettes were safe because of tests on dogs and other animals. had they not subjected these animals to these horrific tests not only would animals have been saved but who knows how many humans.

Minnie J.
Minnie Johns6 years ago

Have people ever wondered when you take your pets to the vet and you have medication which states NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION? also why we can't use any of our medication on animals?? because WE ARE NOT THE SAME IN MAKE UP! and our drugs will be toxic to our pets! so what is the logic in testing obesity on monkeys? why should they have to suffer for what is OUR PROBLEM?? what is wrong with people? can they not see animals can cry in pain just like we can? they are not objects: put here for humans advantage? I just despair!!

Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita Sasi Dharan6 years ago

Unpardonable, in my opinion! There are people so greedy for money, collect specimens paying a lot of money and conduct experiments on them.That will be more accurate too.. Spare the innocent animals, for God's sake!