AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The largest animal rights organization in the world held a protest at UMass Amherst on Monday.

The animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), made its voice loud and clear at the UMass Amherst Campus. While PETA advocates for all animals, on Monday they were demanding the university stop experimenting on marmosets.

Neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe at Monday’s rally told 22News, “Somewhat ridiculous because marmosets themselves to not experience menopause. And the marmosets in the laboratory are enduring numerous invasive surgeries, captivity, hormone manipulations all for nothing.”

Well-known actor and Massachusetts native Casey Affleck has spent time at the statehouse for other animal rights issues. He says raising awareness is one of the first steps.

“I know that sometimes these are new issues to people,” said Affleck. “And it works, larger in part because of organizations like PETA.”

22News spoke with a member of the school’s biology department, who said PETA’s accusations are inaccurate.

“They’re saying, ‘No abuse.’ We don’t abuse animals here. The people that work on animals actually love animals a lot. They’re showing marmosets, marmosets are not abused here, they’re living in social situations. It’s really a distortion of what’s going on,” said Professor and Director of Neuroscience at UMass Amherst, Paul Katz.

Full statement from UMass Amherst:

Medical research has saved and improved the lives of millions of people and animals. Today’s medicines and surgical techniques would not have been discovered without a more comprehensive understanding of disease and the way the body works. That is the result of research programs at universities, hospitals and research facilities around the world, including UMass Amherst.

Animal research has contributed to many of the medical advances we now know today, including vaccines, antibiotics, anesthesia and medicines used to treat serious conditions. Research in the last few decades has also begun to tackle some of the most complex medical problems we face such as heart disease, depression, HIV and cancer. Many key questions in science can only be addressed by studies on animals.

UMass Amherst conducts research using animals to examine a wide range of health concerns.  Animals are used in research when no better options exist. Animal research at UMass Amherst happens in a variety of fields of study, including veterinary science, agricultural science and different medical research fields.

UMass Amherst has a commitment to care for laboratory animals that involves the highest ethical standards and rigorous attention and adherence to all applicable federal and state laws and guidelines.

University of Massachusetts Amherst