Animal rights activists are livid after a recent report showed that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) killed all the monkeys that it held in a single day.
A report by The Guardian has revealed that the American space agency killed a total of 27 primates by administering drugs on them on February 2, 2019 at its Ames Research Centre in California’s Silicon Valley. The report further mentioned that the monkeys were 21 years of age and had Parkinson’s disease. The information comes via documents released under America’s freedom of information laws.
Explaining their action, the chief executive of LifeSource BioMedical, Stephanie Solis told that the monkeys were given to the laboratory many years ago since a proper sanctuary could not be found for them due to their age and poor health. LifeSource BioMedical offers technical services and housing/ husbandry options for a variety of species to NASA.
Solis also mentioned that they agreed to accept the animals, acting as a sanctuary and provided all care at their own cost, until their old age and declining health resulted in a decision to humanely euthanize to avoid a “poor quality of life.” The LifeSource BioMedical chief executive also told the Guardian that no research was conducted on the monkeys while they were at Ames.
The report has attracted critical reactions from animal lovers and even a US House Representative. In his statement, US House Representative from New York, Kathleen Rice said that she has written to NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine demanding an explanation for the killings of monkeys.
The Democrat leader informed that she has been urging the US government researchers to switch to a more humane way of dealing with animals that are no longer required for research purposes. She further said that she is expecting an explanation from NASA administrator Bridenstine on why the animals were killed in captivity when they could have lived out their lives in a sanctuary.
NASA’s relationship with animals has been the same since its inception. NASA sent animals like chimps, dogs, and monkeys to space before they sent humans, in order to test the effects of weightlessness in space. The first monkey that went into space was on June 11, 1948, via V-2 Blossom that launched into space from White Sands, New Mexico carrying Albert I. It was a rhesus monkey.
According to NASA, another monkey was sent on June 14, 1949, in a second V-2 flight carrying a live Air Force Aeromedical Laboratory monkey, Albert II. That monkey died on impact.