Plug Pulled On Nasa Monkey Radiation Experiments After Intense Campaign Led By PETA Us Sparks Firestorm Of Disapproval

For Immediate Release:
9 December 2010

Sandra Smiley 0207 357 9229, ext 229; [email protected]

London – PETA has learned that the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has cancelled plans to fund and conduct cruel and ineffective radiation experiments on monkeys. The decision comes after a year of vigorous campaigning by PETA’s American affiliate, PETA US. The European Space Agency (ESA) also publically voiced its disapproval of NASA’s plans, stating that it “declines any interest in monkey research and does not consider any need or use for such result”. ESA’s position was shared by other organisations such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as well as government officials, former NASA astronauts, and even a NASA engineer who resigned over the issue.

“Cruelty to animals has no part in NASA’s mission, and the agency’s decision to call off this cruel experiment has us over the moon,” said PETA’s Alistair Currie. “We believe that officials finally realised that blasting monkeys with radiation is just bad science.”

In the proposed study, dozens of squirrel monkeys would have been exposed to a harmful dose of radiation at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York before being sent to McLean Hospital, where they would have been isolated in cages and subjected to years of behavioural experiments to measure the damage caused by the radiation. The radiation would have likely caused brain damage, cataracts, cancerous tumours, loss of motor control and early death. The monkeys would have spent the rest of their lives at McLean, and NASA had ensured that the agency would have access to the animals for additional experiments in the future. The cost of the study would have amounted to more than £1 million.

PETA US’ high-profile campaign included support from celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney; scores of protests at NASA locations; online actions on Twitter and Facebook; and formal complaints to American officials demonstrating the flaws of the experiment. More than 100,000 protest e-mails were sent to government officials through PETA US’ website alone.

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