by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals
Tags: .

bill maher, comedian, animals, hsusIn a move that hasn’t occurred for decades, NASA is about to start conducting radiation tests on live squirrel monkeys. The space agency recently approved the $1.75 million experiment as part of their attempts to understand the effects of interplanetary travel.

In response, comedian Bill Maher has written NASA administrator Charles Bolden, urging him to drop the experiment and find other, less cruel ways to conduct their research.

“Squirrel monkeys are tiny but intelligent primates who live in large colonies with strong social structures,” he writes. “If this experiment goes forward, these highly intelligent animals will be sent to Brookhaven National Laboratory, where they will be exposed to radiation that will produce physical and likely mental damage. They will then be turned over to cognitive experiments to a researcher in Boston who commonly uses monkeys in protocols that involve electric shocks and other inhumane practices.”

The researcher in question is Jack Bergman — who, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, has used squirrel monkeys for 15 years in addiction experiments that have involved applying electric shocks, withholding food, and completely immobilizing the animals in restraint chairs for extended periods.

In his letter, Maher points out that past experiments conducted by NASA and the Air Force using radiation on monkeys did not reveal any answers — and he’s doubtful these new tests will achieve anything new. “Don’t turn turn back the clock,” he concludes. “Cancel this cruel exercise in futility.”

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Michelle

    Great for Bill Maher to write a letter and encourage other means of experimentation. It’s just so cruel to do this to animals. If Jack Bergman wants to understand the effects of interplanetary travel on humans, maybe he should volunteer himself! Leave the animals out of it!

  • Amanda

    Let’s flood Bergman’s inbox with emails telling him to cancel this disgusting and expensive experiment:

  • Cathy

    I’m with Bill!!! Leave the monkey’s alone!

  • Amanda

    I created a Facebook group so people can find out how to contact Bergman and NASA:

  • ddpalmer

    Yeah. Just send those astronauts out there and stop worrying about what may happen to them. i mean they volunteered didn’t they? So they are willing to accept the risk. The monkeys didn’t ask for any of this.

  • Rad_Rosa89

    NASA needs to use the millions for dollars it has and invest them in better research that doesn’t involve animals..

  • The Go Green Blog

    Don’t hurt the monkeys!

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  • Jill

    By using non animal means, NASA will be showing the rest of the world that it is above old fashioned ways, and does not need to copy the masses, and also that scientists are embracing a more compassionate attitude toward our fellow beings.They do not need to subject animals to any kinds of experimentation in this modern day and age

    • ddpalmer

      Exactly. They shouldn’t test anything on animals any more. Just start giving new drugs to people. If some of them die then they know the drug doesn’t work and they can try another one until they get it right.