Iran’s space agency plans to continue its cruel use of primates by launching a second monkey into space by the end of November. Additional species are set to follow.
A report in the daily Jomhuri Eslami newspaper on Sunday quoted the deputy head of Iran’s space agency, Hamid Fazeli, as saying the launch is part of the country’s plans to send a human into space in 2018.
In January, Iran sent a monkey aboard a space capsule code-named “Pishgam,” or Pioneer. The country also claims it successfully sent worms, a mouse and a turtle into space before sending the monkey.
In 2011, PETA U.K. urged Fazeli to abort the mission, pointing out that American and European space programs no longer use primates. PETA argues, “Monkeys are smart and sensitive animals who not only are traumatized by the violence and noise of a launch and landing but also suffer when caged in a laboratory before and after a flight—if they survive.”
NASA discontinued the use of primates in space radiation experiments in the early 1990s, after strong protests by the animal rights organization. The European Space Agency (ESA) has also publicly stated that it “declines any interest in monkey research and does not consider any need or use for such results.”
Despite opposition from animal welfare groups, Fazeli said the space agency is prepared to send another animal into space. The second monkey will be sent aboard a liquid-fuel carrier.
He also said a Persian cat may be the next animal they send into space. According to the Iranian space agency, “animal astronauts” are important to the development of a country’s space program because they allow scientists to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a potential human launch.
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Source: International Business Times