by MPD
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .

paul mccartney, nasa, animal experimentSir Paul McCartney is a big fan of space exploration. In the past, the well known singer has performed for the crew of STS-114 and even teamed up with NASA to get Beatles music pumped into space, or, to quite literally get Lucy in the sky with diamonds. But this time, Paul is speaking out against NASA.

The space agency is planning to use dozens of squirrel monkeys for harsh radiation experiments. Animal testing to the extreme!

In his letter to the agency, Paul writes, “I believe NASA has the ingenuity to investigate the health effects of space travel without confining and experimenting on animals as was done in the old days. It would be terribly disappointing if in our zeal to explore new frontiers and to learn about the fascinating universe where we live we began to regress in our treatment of the animals with whom we share this planet.”

Is animal testing a good idea? The European Space Agency states it “declines any interest in monkey research,” and various experts say the tests are unnecessary and lack scientific merit. So, basically…no!

We’re happy to hear that McCartney is speaking out on this issue and hope the team at NASA listens to reason!

  • David

    Well the article doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but I believe the proposed testing is part of the early phase of a manned mission to Mars. Since the European Space Agency doesn’t launch manned missions it isn’t surprising that they have no interest in this research. And since NASA has many experts, I guess there are various experts that think the tests are necessary and have scientific merit.

    I am not an expert but it sounds like there are diverse opinions on the issue among the experts. So rather than enlisting the emotional argument from Paul McCartney, who unless I miss my guess isn’t an expert, it makes more sense for the experts from each side to get together and try and resolve the conflict.

    Are there alternative ways to get the required data? Is the data really even needed? Is it needed now or can the testing be put on hold with the hope that future advances will make it unnecessary? These are the kind of questions the experts need to discuss and use the scientific method to arrive at answers.

    • Erin Elizabeth

      What constitutes an expert? A scientist who experiments on animals? I say they radiate the experts instead and get their data that way. A lot more dependable as they are human just like the astronauts. Just more wasted govt money. NASA is getting shut down soon anyway.

      • Michael d'Estries

        Erin, just to clear, NASA isn’t getting shut down. They may have missed out on some funding for some proposed programs, but they’re not suddenly going to be retired.

  • georgina0912

    If this experiment goes on the squirrel monkeys will receive the amount of radiation that equals to a couple of HUMAN years in space. Not only unethical those experiments are needless since NASA has been performing them for years with inconclusive results, other than having monkeys that will suffer from seizures, cancer, and other not-so-nice side effects from being radiated.

    @David, if you want to get more information about the issue just Google “squirrel monkeys NASA experiment.” This issue has received a lot of publicity and you can find plenty of info there.

    Is it necessary? No. Is it ethical? No. Is it emotional for animal lovers to learn about how NASA plans to spend $1.8 million to torture these monkeys? Hell yeah.

    • David

      “Little research has been done on this sort of long-term exposure to low doses of radiation.

      Jack Bergman, a behavioral pharmacologist at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital in Boston, said: “We realized there was a need for this kind of work.

      “There’s a long-standing commitment on the part of NASA to deep space travel and with that commitment comes a need for knowing what kinds of adverse effects deep space travel might have, what are the risks to astronauts. That’s not been well assessed.” ”

      Well it appears that some experts disagree with you and say they are necessary. And obiovuly some people disagree with you and think it is ethical. So that brings us right back to where we started.

      You do realize a manned mission to Mars would require humans to be outside the radiation protection afforded by the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field for HUMAN years?

      • Ally

        The difference is that they have a choice! They can understand the risks and make their own decisions. We do not have the right to force innocent monkeys to endure this. It’s wrong. This isn’t a gray matter, we have no right, it’s immoral.

      • Ally

        Also NASA is getting shut down anyways…so…kinda pointless.

      • David

        I think you may misunderstand what is going on at NASA. They aren’t being ‘shut down’. In fact there budget this year is more than last year. The Constellation program, which is for manned missions to the Moon, is being halted. The Mars mission program is still being funded.

      • georgina

        Are we talking about the same Bergman who leads federally funded experiments on squirrel monkeys in which they were isolated in steel cages, withholding food, addicted to methamphetamines and cocaine, completely immobilizing the animals in restraint chairs for extended periods, and given electric shocks?

        What do you think he learned from that? And how can anyone respect a person like that?

        He is not only wasting our tax dollars, he is purely terrorizing these animals. There is no other way around it. If that is not the case then reply with the results of such experimentation and how they help us humans either evolve, or understand squirrel monkeys better, or simply how are those results relevant to us because to me from what i have read about what drugs do to people, it is pretty clear that one should stay away from them. Restraining? I would go crazy mad. But i am not a squirrel monkey, perhaps Bergman just wants to see if they react the same way as a human would. Just for the hell of it.

        To answer my own question, yes, we are speaking about the same Bergman.

        And yes David, you are right about one thing, i am not an behavioral pharmacological expert, but when you pay attention at the person who uttered those words and then get to know the kind of work they do, doesn’t it make you think that he HAS to somehow validate what he does for a living? Look at it this way, i do not know what you do for work or if you work, but would you ever tell your boss that what you do really amounts to nothing and that you are not needed at your place of work? That is, unless you already have another job offer of course.

  • rosario

    i agree 100 pct with sir paul once more! he is an angel on earth! i ask myself why and what nasa is looking for in space – when they are not even able to have a normal relation and communication with the living beings of THIS planet?

    • David

      Well space exploration has directly and indirectly led to many of the technological advances over the past 50 years.

      A major reason for the developement and improvement in solar cell technology was and is the space program. And many other green technologies have come from or benefited from space programs.

  • Michael Raymer

    I think that NASA is obligated to explain how living creatures are needed for these tests as opposed to instrumentation. I am not in the “Don’t Conduct Tests On Any Animals For Any Reason” camp, but in this day and age, valid proof should be required. We have so many gadgets that do so many things. NASA, of course, is at the forefront of technology. There isn’t a sensor that can’t be put in a room, where the data is collected and anylyzed? I would also like to know why they can’t just beef up the radiation shielding.

    On the other side of the coin, I don’t see NASA going around looking for reasons to irradiate monkeys.

    • David

      I agree that they do need to show why another method won’t get the same info. But radiation and it’s effect on humans are topics I know something about. And I don’t see how anything but a living creature would work.

      It isn’t that they want to measure how much radiation or what types there are, they have that data from unmanned craft that have already traveled to Mars. But what biological effects does constant low level exposure cause. We know high doses (>1000 Rad) in a short time will kill you, but we also know that every living thing on the planet gets from about 350 milliRad to 12 Rad per year with no discernible effect. So where in between those two ends do dangerous effects start occurring?

  • From MN, with hope…

    Good insights David. Personally, I don’t really see the need why NASA would have to test these procedures on animals. We have already proved humans can live for extended periods of time in low-gravity with the various space stations that have been put into orbit. The ISS has some sort of shielding material to keep radiation away, although it probably is a weaker amount of radiation than in deep space, but the Apollo crews made it to the moon and back safely. Granted, that is a shorter period of time, but this is the 21st century, we have other ways to test these things. If not than we should.

    • David

      We don’t have other ways to test these things. And a statement like “If not then we should.” is kind of strange. How can you say what technology we ‘should’ have?

      • From MN, with hope…

        Well we’re 60 or so years into the space program, and they should have methods of testing that don’t involve testing on animals. I never would have thought that they still tested with them. I say ‘should’ because the whole deal in the past against testing on animals was so effective.

      • David

        So we are more than 500 years into the use of wind power so it should be perfect by now right?

        Do you have any idea how science works?

      • From MN, with hope…

        Well has there been any action against using the wind? All I was saying was that it doesn’t make any sense that they are still testing on animals, especially after all the action against it. Don’t twaddle off just because I’m anti-whaling. Scientific discoveries come in multiple ways, but in most cases, you’re trying to accomplish something. Whether it be what you are trying to accomplish or not, you are trying for something.

      • David

        Yes MN and not everything people try and discover works out. There are things that are physically impossible. So just because they have been studying/researching radiation in space for 60 years doesn’t lead to the conclusion that they “should” have developed a better method that doesn’t require animal testing.

        And if you really believe that your position on whaling actually had anything to do with my response then you need to realize you just aren’t that important. If you actually read this forum you would realize that I would have responded the same to anybody who showed such a lack of scientific understanding.

      • From MN, with hope…

        Ah so you’re naturally that way. Alright, fine by me. Although it also makes it obvious you think you’re higher than other people, just by referencing a few sentences. You can’t say I lack scientific understanding just from that. Now what you need to realize is that it is what I BELIEVE should have been made: a way to test that doesn’t involve animals. That is an opinion of mine based on obviously the whole ‘animal cruelty’ deal, but also what has happened against animal testing.

        Obviously you need to deflate that ego of yours. I’m not trying to be insulting, but if that’s how you take, than I’m sorry. I have little respect for those who think they’re higher than others.

      • David

        Yes you are trying to be insulting. You just aren’t very good at it.

        And science doesn’t bend to what you BELIEVE it is what it is.

        There are people that BELIEVE they can build perpetual motion machines, science doesn’t care and they will never succeed.

      • Michael d'Estries

        Careful with the insults, please. No need to mock back and forth.

  • Mary

    I’m with Paul McCartney on this one. I mean, for one, you really can’t test radiation, or anything like radiation, to see how safe it is to humans on something thats 1/100th of our size. It wont have the right effect. And, I’m pretty sure the squirrels didn’t sign up for this. If it weren’t for human curiosity, we wouldn’t have the problem of animal rights. I see why we can’t just use humans, I mean, even with a disclaimer and a signed contract saying NASA’s not responsible for anything that happens to you, they could still get lawsuits. But, as far as we’ve come in technology, we should be able to simulate the effects of radiation and other things on non-living things that simulate how a human body would react. And until we get there, we shouldn’t be trying it out on anything living. We’ll just have to deal with our curiosity and wait.

    • David

      First Mary they are monkeys not squirrels. Second yes the effects on them will have the same effects that can be correlated to humans. And as has already been discussed in this very discussion, there aren’t ‘shoulds’ in technological advances. Also it is kind of hard to simulate something without first understanding it well enough to be able to program a computer model. And how do we get that understanding? We perform testing on living subjects.

  • Cho cho ma

    I dont think its right to use these animals for tests. I also think it is just a giant waste of money trying to go to mars.

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