PETA and Daisy Ridley want the University of Massachusetts to stop torturing and killing monkey named after “Star Wars” characters. Obviously the entire process of experimenting on animals is outdated and cruel. But the added insult of sullying names associated with a beloved franchise with inhumane experiments is just too much for the “Death on the Nile” star.
“I was appalled to learn that tiny marmoset monkeys are being harmed in bizarre menopause experiments conducted at your university. I’m especially saddened to hear that these animals have been named after characters from Star Wars,” Ridley said a letter sent on behalf of PETA to UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “I obviously have a deep connection with this franchise, and it breaks my heart to hear that the names of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and several other beloved characters are now associated with such cruelty. I understand that experimenters surgically remove the marmosets’ ovaries and then force the animals to endure ‘hot flashes’ by using hand warmers to mimic menopause. The monkeys’ skulls are cut open and electrode leads are threaded from their heads all the way down through their abdomens. Marmosets don’t even experience menopause.”
Anakin is one marmoset who never knew freedom, even while his namesake character zoomed around a galaxy far, far away. Experimenters confined Anakin to a tiny cage alone for months; kept him thirsty in tests; bolted him to the bed of a noisy, terrifying MRI machine; and eventually killed him.
Video obtained by PETA shows another marmoset, Leia, screaming in distress at UMass—yet no one helps her. Ridley urges Subbaswamy to embrace innovative, animal-free research and to give the marmosets a new hope by releasing them to a sanctuary.
At UMass, experimenters conduct multiple invasive surgeries on the tiny marmosets, subject them to stressful social isolation tests, apply hand warmers to their bodies in a crude attempt to induce hot flashes, and mimic sleep disruption by blasting them with loud noises every 15 minutes throughout the night. Ridley joins a long list of “Star Wars” actors—including Thandie Newton, Natalie Portman, Woody Harrelson, and Mark Hamill—who have helped promote kindness to animals.