An entire group of monkeys housed at a NASA facility was reportedly killed instead of being sent to a sanctuary – and a New York lawmaker demands to know why.
All 27 primates at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley received lethal doses of medication to kill them on February 2, 2019, the Guardian revealed Tuesday.
The monkeys were getting older and 21 had Parkinson’s disease, the Guardian said, citing documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
In a September 8 letter obtained by The Post, the U.S. rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) also shared NASA’s “Animal Disposition Records 2018-19” and a related letter urging NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to justify the slaughter.
Rice said several monkeys “simply experienced the effects of old age and were placed indefinitely in laboratory settings despite not being used in any new research protocol.
“If no effort was considered to pursue retirement into a sanctuary, explain why this is the case,” she wrote. from case to case and instead of killing the entire colony is unnecessary waste of wildlife. ”
Animal rights activists were also furious at the shocking revelation.
John Gluck, an animal ethics expert at the University of New Mexico, said the monkeys “were apparently not considered worthy of a chance at a sanctuary.”
Disposal instead of simple decency. Shame on those responsible, ”he said.
Mike Ryan of Rise for Animals, a nonprofit group that received the documents, said the monkeys were treated as “tragic afterthought.”
“NASA has many strengths, but when it comes to animal welfare practices, they are outdated,” he added.
NASA used chimpanzees and other primates to test its Mercury space capsule and famously launched a 3-year-old chimpanzee named Ham into space in 1961.
But the monkeys killed last year were part of a joint care deal with LifeSource BioMedical, a pharmaceutical company that rents space at the Ames Research Center, the Guardian said.
LifeSource CEO Stephanie Solis told The Guardian that the company got the creatures “years ago” because their age and poor health prevented them from being placed in a sanctuary.
Solis also said the monkeys had not been subjected to research experiments since then.
“We agreed to accept the animals, act as a sanctuary and provide all the care at our own expense, until their advanced age and declining health resulted in a decision to kill humans to avoid a poor quality of life,” Solis said.
A NASA spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.