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NASA Radiation Experiment Update: Sanctuaries for Squirrel Monkeys?

A group of Massachusetts physicians is asking McLean Hospital to release 10 squirrel monkeys to sanctuaries. The monkeys were slated for NASA’s recently canceled radiation experiments.

In a letter to the president of McLean Hospital near Boston, where the experiments would have taken place, PCRM member and Harvard graduate Marge Peppercorn, M.D., and 12 other doctors urge the institution to retire the squirrel monkeys to primate sanctuaries.

In their letter to McLean Hospital president Scott Rauch, M.D., the doctors write, “While we are happy that NASA has decided to spare these squirrel monkeys from the pain and suffering they would have endured had this research gone forward, neither NASA nor Brookhaven National Laboratory has shared with the public the fate of the monkeys who were to be involved.”

Several squirrel monkeys, including Kilroy and Herbie, who are retired from laboratories, live at Jungle Friends primate sanctuary in Florida. Jungle Friends and three other sanctuaries are willing to provide homes for the squirrel monkeys no longer needed for the NASA-funded experiment.

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Kilroy and Herbie, who are retired from laboratories, live at Jungle Friends primate sanctuary in Florida.

The NASA experiments, proposed by McLean Hospital researcher Jack Bergman, would have involved irradiating monkeys at Brookhaven National Laboratory and then shipping them to McLean to test for cognitive impairment.

Bergman has used squirrel monkeys for more than a quarter century in addiction experiments, which have involved applying electric shocks, withholding food, and completely immobilizing the animals in restraint chairs for extended periods.



 

PCRM Online, February 2011

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