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Cruel Test 'Lacks Scientific Merit,' Says Spaceflight Program Veteran
For Immediate Release:July 30, 2010
Contact:Justin Goodman 757-622-7382
Houston -- An award-winning NASA aerospace engineer--whose childhood dream was to work for the space agency--has resigned in protest over NASA's planned radiation experiments on monkeys. April Evans, a NASA Space Flight Awareness Honoree and nine-year veteran of the U.S. human spaceflight program, resigned after learning that NASA plans to spend $1.75 million to have up to 30 caged squirrel monkeys subjected to dangerous levels of radiation in experiments to be conducted at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Harvard's McLean Hospital. Wrote Evans in her letter of resignation, "I have concerns regarding the physical and psychological damage imposed by NASA on highly social and intelligent life forms, such as primates, unable to give their consent." Evans, who had been working on the development of the International Space Station as a team leader, also stated that the test "lacks scientific merit." Evans--along with many of her colleagues--learned about the experiments during a PETA protest at Johnson Space Center.
"NASA's reliance on cruel and crude radiation tests on monkeys is as absurd as trying to use a Wright Brothers airplane to go to the moon," says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "NASA can ill afford to lose gifted people like April Evans, who has put her lifelong dream on the line to speak out against animal abuse and backward-looking science."
In the experiments, monkeys would be blasted with a harmful dose of ionizing radiation. As a result, the animals would likely suffer from brain damage, cancerous tumors, blindness, and a loss of motor control. Following the radiation exposure, these highly intelligent and social animals would spend the rest of their lives in a laboratory, where they would be isolated in cages and subjected to years of behavioral experiments.
Evans encouraged NASA to develop better space radiation shielding to protect astronauts instead of tormenting animals. Her position is in line with that of the European Space Agency, which has rejected the use of cruel experiments on primates.
For more information, please visit PETA.org/NASA.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.