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Animal Defenders International

NASA call to animal researchers condemned by animal protection group

Posted: 6 November 2012. Updated: 8 November 2012

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Taking one giant leap backwards, NASA has called on researchers to submit funding applications for projects which may involve the use of primates, dogs, cats and other animals, provoking condemnation from ADI.

The purpose of the research is to study how the environment in space affects biological processes, enabling NASA to develop “a safe, productive human presence in space for extended periods”.

Two years ago, following a concerted campaign by ADI and other groups, NASA cancelled a research programme at the Brookhaven National Laboratory which would have involved the irradiation of 36 squirrel monkeys.

As part of the campaign, ADI distributed a DVD entitled ‘Space Experiments on Monkeys – One Giant Leap Backwards’ to Members of Congress which:

  • Revealed the horrific nature of the monkey experiments
  • Outlined how the tests were scientifically flawed
  • Included quotes from: the European Space Agency; Cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev, who set a world record for time in space; Jim Bates, NASA retired, formerly Co-Chairman of the JSC Space Radiation Environment Group; and ex-ESA astronaut and former MEP, Umberto Guidoni
  • Included an extensive interview with aerospace engineer April Evans, who worked as a space architect on the International Space Station and resigned in protest over the tests.

ADI President Jan Creamer: “Animal Defenders International is horrified at the thought that NASA may recommence their research on primates who, alongside any other animals used, would needlessly suffer for this project. We call on NASA to do the right thing, scientifically and ethically, and ensure that NO animals are used.”

In their research guidelines, NASA state “If procedures (e.g., pharmacological or surgical) might lead to severe discomfort, distress, pain or injury, indicators for humane endpoints and euthanasia (e.g., severe infection, respiratory distress, failure to eat, tumor size) should be described.” identifying the potential for severe animal suffering to occur.

Calls for research proposals for the project opened on September 30th and the deadline for submissions was October 31st. The selection of proposals is expected to be announced on April 30th, 2013.

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