Dear PCRM supporter,
Earlier this month, PCRM filed a complaint with the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service against Harvard University’s
primate research facility for violating the Endangered Species Act by
negligently harming and killing cotton-top tamarins. Harvard has responded by
claiming that efforts are being made to relocate the nearly 170 tamarins—critically endangered monkeys native to Colombia—to “other
institutions, such as wildlife preserves or sanctuaries.”
We may be on the verge of getting these animals out of
Harvard’s New England
Center for good, but your
help is needed. Please ask the center’s interim director R. Paul Johnson, M.D.,
to announce a plan to retire these delicate primates to
responsible sanctuaries or wildlife refuges immediately.
has a track record of abusing and killing cotton-top tamarins. In June 2010, a
cotton-top tamarin was found dead after his cage was sent through a cage washer.
If the tamarin was alive when he entered the washer, he suffered through 15
minutes of scalding, high-pressure water and harsh chemicals before succumbing
to third-degree burns all over his body.
cotton-top tamarin at Harvard’s primate center was found severely dehydrated in
February 2012 after being left without water and had to be euthanized. Cotton-top
tamarins fare poorly in captivity even without Harvard’s fatal mishaps. Relocating
these monkeys is essential to preventing future deaths at Harvard’s New England Primate Research
According to published scientific papers, cotton-top
tamarins have been used at harvard in numerous studies of very dubious value. A 2006 study reported that tamarins
increase the volume of their calls in the presence of background noise. Earlier
this year, a comparative study of chimerism (a genetic oddity rarely observed
in humans) in marmosets and cotton-top tamarins was reported, using tissue
samples obtained “immediately postmortem from animals euthanized following
unrelated procedures or in the course of normal end-of-life palliative care.”
It is time to place Harvard’s tamarins in sanctuaries or
wildlife refuges—by the end of 2012, if possible—and to continue the shift
toward human-focused research methods. Please encourage Harvard to release its
cotton-top tamarins by contacting Dr. Johnson today.
can read our complaint to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here.
Thank you for your support on
this urgent matter.
Associate Director of Research Policy