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Group Asks District Attorney's Office to Investigate and File Appropriate Charges
For Immediate Release:March 23, 2010
Contact:Justin Goodman 757-622-7382
Cambridge, Mass. -- This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter to Patricia Gould, director of the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, asking that her office immediately investigate potential violations of Massachusetts' cruelty-to-animals statute in connection with a proposed radiation experiment on squirrel monkeys that's set to begin soon at Harvard's McLean Hospital. PETA alleges that the experiment--which is being funded with a $1.75 million grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and will be conducted by Harvard animal experimenter Jack Bergman--constitutes cruelty to animals and should be prohibited. If the experiments are carried out, PETA will ask that the individuals involved be prosecuted under state law.
Massachusetts state law stipulates that anyone who "knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits [an animal] to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering, or cruelty" is subject to imprisonment or fines or both. PETA points out that the NASA monkey experiment falls within the state's prohibition on cruelty to animals because of the extensive physical and psychological damage that the animals would suffer, the extensive data already available on the effects of radiation on human astronauts, the demonstrated irrelevance of monkey radiation experiments to human health, and the non-animal alternatives that are available.
"Animal abuse isn't limited to dogfighters and slaughterhouse workers--it's just as often found in hospitals and laboratories, where it is carried out by highly paid professionals in white coats," says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "These monkeys will suffer their entire lives from an experiment that's cruel, irrelevant to humans, and likely illegal."
Monkeys in the NASA experiment would be exposed to a massive dose of radiation that would likely result in brain damage, cancerous tumors, loss of motor control, cognitive decline, and early death. Following the radiation exposure, the monkeys would spend the rest of their lives in a laboratory, socially isolated in cages and subjected to years of behavioral experiments.
PETA's letter to Patricia Gould, director of the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, is available upon request. 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.