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The Silver Spring Monkeys

In 1981, Alex began working undercover in a federally funded animal research facility in Silver Spring, Maryland, less than 10 miles from the White House.

For four months he gathered evidence of cruelty to animals and compelled the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office to take legal action, with Alex leading law enforcement agents into the laboratory, carrying out the world’s first, and to this day only, police raid on an animal laboratory.

Unprecedented, it was soon covered on the front pages of every major newspaper in the U.S., often several times, from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to the Soviet Union’s largest newspaper Tass, including coverage by every U.S. television network.

Known as The Silver Spring Monkeys Case, it generated a political and social battle that was fought in Congress, in the courts, in the national media and in the streets, with Alex spearheading a 15-year campaign against the laboratory’s funding agency, the National Institutes of Health, over the fate of the laboratory primates.

The Washington Post wrote: “The case ignited widespread public debate on the ethical issues of animal research. It also turned Alex Pacheco into a public figure and helped make PETA the largest, the most powerful -- and the most feared -- animal rights group in America.”

The New York Times described it as “the nation's best-known animal rights case.”

Filmmaker Oliver Stone, in the forward to the book Monkey Business: the Disturbing Case that Launched the Animal Rights Movement, wrote ...

“Out of the sad saga of the Silver Spring Monkeys grew one of the most important social movements of our time. “

The campaign brought to an end the era of “little old ladies in tennis shoes,” transforming animal lovers into activists and producing an explosion in the birth of animal rights organizations.

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