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An animal cruelty trial against employees of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI) has been suspended.

The MPI researchers were accused of causing ‘longer than necessary’ suffering to three monkeys during research taking place in 2014.

Criminal proceedings were launched by the state prosecutor’s office, but according to Cruelty Free International, the district court in Tübingen has announced that a cash payment in the amount of a four to five digit sum has been agreed instead of the trial.

The charges had followed a joint undercover investigation into the MPI by Cruelty Free International and Soko Tierschutz, revealing that monkeys were subjected to major head surgery, water deprivation and physical restraint.

‘Extremely disappointed’

“We are extremely disappointed that the court hearing has been suspended and the allegations of animal cruelty will not now be addressed,”said Dr. Katy Taylor, Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs at Cruelty Free International – which is now calling for a report prepared by the University of Bochum, which was submitted by the researchers’ defence lawyer, to be made public.

“During our investigation at the Max Planck Institute we were shocked by the level of suffering that monkeys were subjected. Monkeys are intelligent and social animals and it is absolutely appalling for them to be treated in this way.”

MPI that it had ended the use of monkeys in these experiments in 2017.