PETA takes aim at Johnson Space Center
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is going after NASA again over radiation research using monkeys.
PETA organized a protest near Johnson Space Center today and is urging members to e-mail Congress.
Says Kathy Guillermo, PETA's vice president of laboratory investigations:
"NASA prides itself on looking to the future, but when it comes to crude and cruel animal experiments, the agency is stuck in the Dark Ages."
"Monkeys are highly social, sensitive, and intelligent animals. Harming them in experiments so that NASA can check off another item on its seemingly endless list of questions about outer space is unjustifiable, especially when modern, humane research methods exist."
At its Facebook site earlier this week, NASA invited visitors to express their opinions about monkeys on the discussion board.
A reader named Terry wrote:
NASA has had many great accomplishments over the decades, but it's plan to subject animals to a massive dose of radiation is cruel and unnecessary. Since WWII mountains of data concerning the affects of radiation on flora and fauna has been compiled. There is not a single scientific need or reason to submit animals to further experimental torture by radiation poisoning.
"These experiments are yet another example of scientists gone mad wasting our tax dollars and abusing animals for no useful or justifiable reason. Shame on you! NASA, listen to the people!"
But Kathleen wrote:
"Would all you "monkeys are more important than people" folks kindly sign up to take the monkeys' places, so NASA won't have to try to talk their personnel into volunteering for it? When we neglect testing on animals, humans become the "guinnea pigs".
When Discovery News reported on the radiation experiments last fall, Johnson Space Center's Frank Cucinotta explained that NASA had used rats and mice to observe the effects of radiation, but that provides only "a small picture" in assessing the risks of deep space travel to astronauts.
The Houston Chronicle's SciGuy blogger Eric Berger has followed some of the controversy and reports NASA says the monkey experiments will follow its widely accepted ethical guidelines for animal research.
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