Progress: Iran Tells PETA No Animals Used in December Rocket Launch

Published by PETA Staff.
3 min read

Update (December 19, 2023): Progress! Following reports that the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) launched live animals aboard a rocket into space, PETA called on it to stop such archaic testing on animals. The agency just responded, writing that “no real animals were used during the experiment” and that “simulation kits and sensors were utilized as substitutes to gather the necessary data.”

“Animals aren’t tiny astronauts—they’re living beings who feel fear, confusion, and panic just as we do. PETA is calling on the ISA to ground the agency’s cruel animal testing missions for good.”

—PETA Vice President Shalin Gala

We’re relieved that no animals were subjected to the terror of space flight on this latest launch. We’ll be monitoring Iran’s space program to ensure that continues to be the case, and we’ll be urging it to ban the use of animals in the future.

Please take action for animals tormented in experiments by asking the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shut down the forest-to-laboratory monkey-abduction pipeline:

Take Action

And if you’re in the U.S., please take an additional action for animals abused in laboratories by supporting PETA’s Research Modernization Deal:

Support Animal-Free Research


Like many of you, we were appalled by photos that have surfaced showing a visibly terrified monkey crudely strapped into a restraint device in which he was reportedly launched into space by the Iranian Space Agency (ISA). Back in 2011, our friends at PETA U.K. urged agency head Dr. Hamid Fazeli to ground the misguided mission, pointing out that nonhuman primates are no longer sent into space by the American or European space agencies.

It appears that Iran is repeating the wasteful and cruel mistakes that marked the darkest days of the space race. Monkeys are smart and sensitive animals who not only are traumatized by the violence and noise of a launch and landing but also suffer when caged in a laboratory before and after a flight—if they survive.

NASA ended the use of primates in space radiation experiments in the early 1990s, following protests by PETA. In 2010, NASA’s plans to restart the program were canceled after PETA and others voiced strong ethical and scientific objections to the ill-advised plan.

Similarly, the European Space Agency (ESA) has a very active space exploration program and has publicly stated that it “declines any interest in monkey research and does not consider any need or use for such results.” The ESA instead employs modern technology such as state-of-the-art simulators to assess health risks for astronauts.

Whether it happens in Iran or Ireland, in an underground laboratory or in outer space, cruelly exploiting animals for specious science is indefensible. We’ve reached out to the ISA once again to ask it to stop shooting monkeys into space. Learn how you can help stop experimentation on all animals.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind

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Monkeys don’t belong in laboratory cages.

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