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Encyclopedia > Unnecessary Fuss

Unnecessary Fuss is the name of a film produced by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), showing footage shot inside the University of Pennsylvania's Head Injury Clinic in Philadelphia, described by the university as the "longest standing and most respected center for head injury in the U.S." [1] Ingrid Newkirk founder and president of PETA Ingrid Newkirk (born July 11, 1949) is a British-born animal rights activist, author, and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the worlds largest animal rights organization. ... Alex Pacheco is an animal rights activist and co-founder (and former chairman) of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). ... For the SI prefix, see Peta People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an animal rights advocacy organization. ... The University of Pennsylvania (Penn is the moniker used by the university itself; UPenn is also common) is a private, nonsectarian research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ... Philadelphia is a village located in Jefferson County, New York. ...

The footage shows researchers laughing at baboons as they inflict serious brain damage on them. It was taken from the lab by the Animal Liberation Front during a raid in May 1984. As a result of the ensuing publicity, the lab was closed down and the chief veterinarian sacked. Beagles removed by British ALF activists from a testing laboratory owned by the Boots Group. ...

The title of the film, Unnecessary Fuss, comes from a statement made to The Globe and Mail before the raid by the head of the clinic, neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas Gennarelli, [1] in which he declined to describe his research because "it has the potential to stir up all sorts of unnecessary fuss." [2] The Globe and Mail is a large Canadian English language national newspaper based in Toronto. ...


Contents of the PETA film

Greg Avery
David Barbarash
Steven Best  · Rod Coronado
Barry Horne  · Ronnie Lee
Keith Mann
Ingrid Newkirk
Alex Pacheco
Robin Webb
Animal Aid
Animal Liberation Front
Animal Rights Militia
Great Ape Project
Justice Department
SHAC  · Viva!
Animal rights · Animal testing
Declaration on Great Apes
Huntingdon Life Sciences
Speciesism  · Vivisection
Steven Best
Jeremy Bentham
Stephen Clark  · Tom Regan
Richard D. Ryder
Peter Singer
Animal liberation movement

The footage was shot in 1983-4 by the researchers themselves as they inflicted brain damage on baboons by slamming the apes' heads with a hydraulic device as part of their research into head injuries caused by vehicle and sports accidents. ImageMetadata File history File links Monkeyinbilebearcage. ... The logo of the Great Ape Project, which is campaigning for a Declaration on Great Apes. ... Greg Avery (born 1963), also known as Greg Jennings and Greg Harrison, is a British animal rights activist and co-founder of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an international campaign to force the closure of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), a controversial animal-testing company with bases in Huntingdon, England, and... David Barbarash is the North American press officer for the Animal Liberation Front. ... -1... Rod Coronado Rodney Adam Coronado is a prominent American eco-anarchist and animal rights activist. ... Barry Horne Barry Horne was a British animal rights activist who died of kidney failure in Ronkswood Hospital, Worcester on November 5, 2001, following a series of four hunger strikes while serving an 18-year sentence for planting incendiary devices. ... Ronnie Lee is a British animal rights activist, and founder of the Animal Liberation Front. ... Keith Mann is a British animal-rights campaigner, believed to be a senior Animal Liberation Front activist. ... Ingrid Newkirk founder and president of PETA Ingrid Newkirk (born July 11, 1949) is a British-born animal rights activist, author, and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the worlds largest animal rights organization. ... Alex Pacheco is an animal rights activist and co-founder (and former chairman) of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). ... Robin Webb appearing on Channel 4s Dispatches Robin Webb is the press officer for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in the UK. He was previously a member of the ruling council of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and a director of Animal Aid. ... Alternative meaning: Organisation (band). ... Animal Aid is the United Kingdoms largest animal rights group and one of the longest established in the world, having been founded in 1977. ... Beagles removed by British ALF activists from a testing laboratory owned by the Boots Group. ... The Animal Rights Militia (ARM) is a name used by animal-rights activists who are prepared to carry out acts of violence against human beings. ... The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is a pressure group based near Highbury Corner in North London, United Kingdom that campaigns peacefully against vivisection. ... The Great Ape Project aims to expand moral equality to great apes, and to foster greater understanding of them by humans. ... The Justice Department is a militant animal-rights organization, set up in Britain in 1993, and active there and in the United States. ... For the SI prefix, see Peta People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an animal rights advocacy organization. ... SPEAK is a British animal rights campaign that aims to end animal experimentation and vivisection in the UK. The campaign was born out of Stop Primate Experimentation at Cambridge (SPEAC), [1] a campaign set up to oppose the construction at the University of Cambridge of a new primate testing facility... A monkey inside Huntingdon Life Sciences in the United States [1] Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is an international animal-rights campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), Europes largest contract animal-testing laboratory, based in Huntingdon and Occold, England, and New Jersey in the United States. ... Viva!, or Vegetarians International Voice For Animals, Founded by Juliet Gellatley in 1995, is an animal-rights based organisation which promotes vegetarianism and veganism. ... The logo of the Great Ape Project, which is campaigning for a Declaration on Great Apes. ... Filmed by PETA, Covance primate-testing lab, Vienna, Virginia, 2004-5. ... Covance (NYSE: CVD), formerly Hazleton Laboratories, with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, is one of the worlds largest and most comprehensive drug development services companies, according to its own website, with annual revenues over $1 billion, global operations in 17 countries, and approximately 6,700 employees worldwide. ... The Great Ape Project, founded by Italian philosopher Paola Cavalieri and Australian philosopher Peter Singer, is campaigning to have the United Nations endorse a Declaration on Great Apes. ... Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, now with facilities in Huntingdon in the United Kingdom, New Jersey in the United States, and Japan. ... Speciesism is the concept that individuals should be accorded rights based on their species membership rather than their actual capacities. ... Etymologically, vivisection refers to the dissection of, or any cutting or surgery upon, a living animal. ... -1... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: ) (February 15, 1748 – June 6, 1832) was an English gentleman, jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... Stephen Richard Lyster Clark (born October 30, 1945) is a British philosopher and international authority on animal rights, currently professor of philosophy and Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool. ... Dr. Tom Regan Tom Regan (born November 28, 1938 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American philosopher and animal-rights activist. ... Richard D. Ryder (born 1940) is a British psychologist who, after performing psychology experiments on animals, began to speak out against the practice, and became one of the pioneers of the modern animal liberation and animal rights movements. ... Prof. ... Comparative brain sizes In animals, the brain, or encephalon (Greek for in the head), is the control center of the central nervous system. ... Type Species Simia hamadryas Linnaeus, 1758 Species Papio hamadryas Papio papio Papio anubis Papio cynocephalus Papio ursinus The baboons are some of the largest non-hominid members of the primate order; only the Mandrill and the Drill are larger. ...

Sixty hours of audio- and video-tape were removed from the laboratory during a raid on May 28, 1984 by the ALF, who handed it over to PETA. It was subsequently edited down to 26 minutes with a voice-over commentary from Newkirk, before being distributed to the media and to Congress. May 28 is the 148th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (149th in leap years). ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The film shows at least one sedated but not anesthetized baboon with his wrists and ankles tied, strapped to an operating table, his shaved head secured with dental cement inside a helmet. A hydraulic device known as Penn 2 slams the baboon's head from behind, pushing it forward at a 60-degree angle with a force of what the researchers said was up to 1,000 g, apparently intended to simulate whiplash (Newkirk 2000:193). [2] Sedation is a medical procedure involving administration of sedative drugs, generally to facilitate a medical procedure, such as endoscopy, vasectomy, or minor surgery with local anaesthesia. ... Anesthesia (AE), also anaesthesia (BE), is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations. ... Hydraulics is a branch of science and engineering concerned with the mechanical properties of liquids. ... g (also gee, g-force or g-load) is a non-SI unit of acceleration defined as exactly 9. ... Whiplash is the result of impulsive stretching of the spine, often the result of a rear-end collision between cars or trucks. ...

After the injury is sustained, the baboon's head is dislodged from the helmet using a hammer and screwdriver. One sequence shows part of the baboon's ear being torn off along with the helmet. After pulling the baboon's head from the helmet, the researcher is heard to laugh, saying: "It's a boy," then, "Looks like I left a little ear behind" (Newkirk 2000:194-5).

The footage shows the researchers laughing at injured baboons, performing electrocautery on an apparently conscious baboon, smoking cigarettes and pipes during surgery, and playing loud music as the animals are injured. Hot cauters were applied to tissues or arteries to stop them from bleeding. ...

A female researcher is seen holding a seriously injured baboon up to the camera, while others speak to the animal: "Don't be shy now, sir, nothing to be afraid of," followed by laughter, and "He says, 'you're gonna rescue me from this, aren't you? Aren't you?'," followed by more laughter.

While one baboon was being injured on the operating table by the hydraulic device, the camera panned to a brain-damaged, drooling monkey strapped into a high chair in a corner of the room, with the words "Cheerleading in the corner, we have B-10. B-10 wishes his counterpart well. As you can see, B-10 is still alive. B-10 is hoping for a good result," followed by laughter.

In another sequence, one researcher is heard to say: "You better hope the ... anti-vivisection people don't get ahold of this film" (Newkirk 2000:196).


The university responded that the film was a "caricature" of what had taken place in the laboratory. Shortly after the ALF raid and before PETA had released the footage, Dr. Thomas Langfitt, chief investigator at the Head Injury Clinic and chair of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital's department of neurosurgery, denied there had been abuse in the laboratory, telling the Philadelphia Daily News that the animals had been treated humanely and that "[r]esearchers would never laugh at the apes. We treat the baboons the way we treat human beings" (Newkirk 2000). Phil Silvers TV Guide cover A caricature is a humorous illustration that exaggerates or distorts the basic essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. ... The Philadelphia Daily News is a tabloid newspaper that began publishing on March 31, 1925, under founding editor Lee Ellmaker. ... Families Hylobatidae Hominidae Apes are the members of the Hominoidea superfamily of primates, including humans. ...

A subsequent investigation by eighteen veterinarians from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, commissioned by the Office for Protection from Research Risks (OPRR), agreed that the PETA film had "grossly overstated" the deficiencies in the Head Injury Clinic, but after a three-day sit-in by animal-rights activists at the National Institutes for Health, and the personal intervention of Margaret Heckler, then Health and Human Services secretary, the government concluded that the "extraordinarily serious violations" [3] seen on the footage were sufficient to justify the clinic's closure. To meet Wikipedias quality standards and appeal to a wider international audience, this article may require cleanup. ... Margaret M. Heckler Margaret Mary Heckler (born June 21, 1931) is a Republican politician from Massachusetts who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1967 until 1983 and was later the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan. ... The United States Department of Health and Human Services, often abbreviated HHS, is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. ...

The violations included that the depth of anesthetic coma was "questionable," that most of the animals were not seen by a veterinarian either before or after surgery, survival surgical techniques were not carried out in the required aseptic manner, that the operating theater was not properly cleaned, and that smoking was allowed in the operating theater despite the presence of oxygen tanks. The OPPR also found deficiencies in many other laboratories operated by the university. The university's chief veterinarian was fired, new training programs were initiated, and the university was placed on probation, with quarterly progress reports to OPPR required. [4] [5] General Name, Symbol, Number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series Nonmetals Group, Period, Block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless Atomic mass 15. ...

Criticism of the PETA film

When PETA made its 26-minute film available, the OPRR initially refused to investigate because the film had been edited from 60 hours of videotape. When PETA eventually handed over the unedited material, the OPRR discovered that the footage of the brain damage being inflicted involved just one baboon out of the 150 who had received the Penn 2 injuries. The film gave the impression that the brain-damage scenes involved several animals. However, several different brain-damaged baboons can clearly be seen being examined and laughed at by the researchers.

The OPRR identified 25 errors in Newkirk's voice-over commentary. One example was where an accidental liquid spill over a conscious baboon during a surgical procedure was identified, without evidence, as an acid spill. [6] It has been suggested that strong acid be merged into this article or section. ...

See also

Beagles removed by British ALF activists from a testing laboratory owned by the Boots Group. ... Britches after being removed from the laboratory by the Animal Liberation Front Britches was the name given by researchers to a stumptail macaque monkey who was born into a breeding colony at the University of California, Riverside in March 1985. ... For the SI prefix, see Peta People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an animal rights advocacy organization. ... The pit of despair, sometimes called the well of despair, is the name of an experiment conducted on rhesus macaque monkeys by American comparative psychologist Harry Harlow at the University of Wisconsin during the 1970s. ... A marmoset inside Cambridge University, filmed by BUAV The use of primates in experiments at Cambridge University is controversial, first coming to widespread public attention in the UK following undercover investigations lasting ten months in 1998 by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), the results of which... The Silver Spring monkeys were 17 monkeys kept in small wire cages inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, by Dr. Edward Taub, who was researching regeneration of severed nerves with a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). ...


  • McCarthy, Charles. R. "Reflections on the Organizational Locus of the Office for Protection from Research Risks", The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve University, undated, retrieved February 26, 2006
  • Newkirk, Ingrid. Free the Animals. Lantern Books, 2000. ISBN 1930051220
  • Newkirk, Ingrid & Pacheco, Alex. Unnecessary Fuss, video, 26 minutes, available from PETA. [7]
  • Sideris, Lisa, McCarthy, Charles, & Smith, David H. "Roots of Concern with Nonhuman Animals in Biomedical Ethics", Institute for Laboratory Animal Research Journal, V40(1) 1999.

Further reading

  • The Primate Freedom Project


  1. "Biography of Thomas Gennarelli, University of Wisconsin
  2. (Globe and Mail, March 6, 1983



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