Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Russian lab to experiment on primates for Mars 500 space programme

The Moscow Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) is undertaking a project called Mars 500 which ultimately aims at sending humans to Mars.

Unfortunately this ambitious space exploration adventure will harm and probably take the lives of many monkeys before its completion.

In a bid to simulate a mission to Mars, the project is carrying out ground based long-term radiation experiments on macaques. The purpose is to investigate the effects of radiation on the life expectancy of the monkeys as well as the risk of cancer. Experiments will include exposure to deadly levels of radiation, weightlessness, an unnatural diet, severe confinement, prolonged isolation and other forms of mistreatment.

Animal Defenders International and the Anti Dierproeven Coalitie strongly condemn the experiments as cruel and unethical. News reports have confirmed that an impoverished monkey lab in Abkhazia will conduct these experiments. In some years, Russia even plans to send monkeys to Mars. They would be catered for and cleaned up by a robot, although such technology has not yet been proved successful, posing a serious threat to the animals.

The EU is finalising a new Directive on animals in experiments which will raise animal welfare standards for laboratory animals in Europe and specifically restrict the use of primates. The Directive as agreed last December states that: “the use of non-human primates is of the highest concern to the public.

Therefore the use of non-human primates should only be allowed in those essential biomedical areas for the benefit of human beings, for which no other replacement alternative methods are yet available.“ Since there are alternatives available to these tests, which are arguably not “essential for the benefit of human beings”, this project would not pass the ethical test under European law.

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