Defenders International: Concern As NASA Steps Closer to Irradiation Experiments
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30th, 2010 NASA bill S. 3729 (National Aeronautics and
Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010), has passed the House and
will now go to the President for his signature.
Animal Defenders International is disappointed that The House passed the
Senate version of the bill, which did not include the original House language
that required "justification and rationale for any additional research
involving non-human primates".
After Russia commenced experiments on monkeys which were condemned by Russian
and European astronauts, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that
it would not be using primates in future, and saw no need for animal experiments.
However, here in the US, NASA then followed the Russian announcement with
plans to spend $1.75million on widely-criticized monkey tests, despite having
recently laid off 5,000 workers. A NASA aerospace engineer has resigned
The monkey experiments will see squirrel monkeys given massive doses of
radiation and then forced to perform tasks, and have been criticized from
every side, scientists, animal protectionists, astronauts, former NASA employees,
and even the European Space Agency.
Tim Phillips, Animal Defenders International vice president said, "We
do not oppose space exploration, however, pouring tax payer's money into
these cruel and unnecessary experiments can only be described as wasteful.
These are horrific experiments which have been roundly condemned inside
and outside the space exploration community, the very least the public should
expect is a full explanation of the rationale behind the tests."
Aerospace engineer April Evans resigned her position earlier this year as
a space architect on the International Space Station (ISS) program because
of NASA's decision to conduct primate irradiation testing. Evans believes
this experiment is a major step backward for NASA's animal testing record.
At a meeting at Congress yesterday with Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine, attended by ADI, April called for the monkey research budget to
be redirected to the drive to develop radiation shielding to protect the
astronauts and space vehicle during any future Mars mission.
Animal Defenders International has also written to NASA urging them to reconsider
the experiments and will now move to put pressure on NASA and Congress.
A new ADI video about the experiments is being circulated to all members
of Congress and can be viewed at http://www.ad-international.org/NASA
Media Contact: Ágnes Huff, PhD or Anna Jerden
Ágnes Huff Communications Group