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WIN! Monkeys Spared! NASA Cancels Radiation Experiments


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UPDATE: NASA Cancels Cruel Irradiation Experiments On Monkeys
12/8/10 — With little fanfare, NASA called off irridation tests on monkeys. In the study, restrained monkeys are repeatedly blasted with gamma rays comparable to three years in space — and left with brain damage, cataracts, malignant tumors, motor control loss…premature death. Animal abuse to assess human response to long-term space voyage is a giant leap backward. In fact, NASA has not experimented upon animals since chimpanzees were sent into space decades ago.

For over a year, Kinship Circle’s action campaign NASA Nukes Monkeys, Stop Them made our Top 10 Alerts list. Thousands of activists emailed, faxed, called and wrote to NASA Headquarters demanding the space giant return to animal-free technology — rather than subject squirrel monkeys to high energy gamma-ray radiation. In June 2010, NASA aerospace engineer April Evans even quit her job as space architect for the International Space Station (ISS) program over NASA’s primate tests.

Thanks to your diligence, along with campaigns from other organizations (most notably PETA, which enlisted Sir Paul McCartney, Bob Barker, Alicia Silverstone, U.S. Congress members, and a former NASA astronaut/engineer) our voices were heard. Years pass as we plead for humane reforms. When victories occur, you know why we do it.

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Dear Administrator Bolden, NASA Headquarters, Public Communications, Public Relations, and NASA Office of Inspector General:

I stand behind NASA’s mission. However, the use of live animals in space radiation tests is a major leap backward for humankind. Please do not subject squirrel monkeys to high energy gamma-ray radiation to assess human response to long-term space voyages.

I agree that space radiation may endanger astronauts traveling far distances, such as a trip to Mars. But animal experiments generate misleading results. Physiological, anatomical, and psychological variations between species make accurate extrapolation to humans unlikely. And while primates and humans share genetic likeness, their disease process and treatment differ tremendously. It is precarious to base "neurobehavioral effects of radiation on humans" upon non-predictive monkey tests.

I encourage NASA to continue utilizing animal-free technology, such as in vitro methods with cellular components of human derivation. As you know, modern bioengineers have devised models with blood vessels and organ characteristics that better imitate human tissue function and design. A March 2009 Biotechnology and Bioengineering report details these 3D cellular systems derived from building blocks of active human cells.

Irradiating monkeys calls for experimenters to repeatedly blast restrained animals with gamma rays comparable to three years in space. Once tests conclude at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, the monkeys spend their lives as test subjects in a Harvard Medical School project.

Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has shown that primates form social unions and experience complex emotions. Certainly, these sentient creatures experience pain and loneliness. I respectfully ask Administrator Bolden and his NASA colleagues to end this pointless cruelty.

Thank you,

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NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20546-0001
NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr.: 202-358-0000
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NASA Public Communications Office
NASA Headquarters, Suite 5K39
Washington, DC 20546-0001
ph: 202-358-0001, fax: 202-358-4338
Stephanie Schierholz:
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Doc Mirelson:
Beth Dickey:
Jennifer Knotts:
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Bob Jacobs:

NASA Office of Inspector General
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Washington, D.C. 20026
ph: 1-800-424-9183
Curator Michael Campbell:
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