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NASA Engineer Resigns Over Monkey Tests

NASA Engineer Resigns Over Monkey Tests

One NASA engineer has publicly resigned over the agency’s plans to test radiation on monkeys.

The proposed experiment by NASA to spend 1.75 million dollars on irradiating 18 squirrel monkeys has drawn extensive protest from anti-vivisection and animal rights groups. A spokesman for NASA has said the experiment is under review and may or may not actually happen.

April Evans, the engineer who resigned, said she learned of the experiment because protests relating to it had caused traffic jams near the facility where she works. She said she had trouble believing the experiment was real.

Once she confirmed the tests were in fact real, she filed protests with her bosses. When her protests went unheeded, she resigned out of frustration at what she saw as “unnecessary” experiments, the results of which she thinks won’t even apply to human beings.

Those in the vivisection community like to portray those who protest tests like these as being uneducated, vegan fundamentalists. April Evans is none of those things. She’s a NASA engineer who isn’t even vegetarian. She simply recognizes the absurd and unnecessary nature of these experiments.

It’s not clear if the outcry about the cruel nature of the experiments has had any bearing on the review process.

Evans asserts that not only will these tests not produce results that are applicable to human physiology, but that NASA is going in the wrong direction entirely with its plans for dealing with radiation in outer space. Evans insists the agency should be spending money finding ways to prevent radiation from entering vehicles, not treating radiation poisoning once it is inside.

NASA’s budget of $18.69 billion for 2010 is more than enough to find alternatives to animal testing. Animal testing is already pointless, scientifically unsound and cruel. But animal testing for the purpose of outer space research plays like some kind of ridiculous blend of science fiction and horror.

With all the problems here on Earth, if we’re going to burn through almost $19 billion in a year to pursue sci-fi fantasies, the least we can ask of NASA is that they not torture animals in the process. It seems like such a small thing to ask of an agency that is using so much of our tax money.

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Photo: Bernt Rostad

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277 comments

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11:34AM PST on Dec 25, 2010

April Evans is my new heroine. Thank you for having the courage of your convictions regardless of personal cost.

6:47PM PST on Dec 24, 2010

SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!! This "Experiment," HAS BEEN CANCELED because EVERYONE did their part and worked together to help these poor monkeys!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~

5:37AM PST on Nov 16, 2010

David, please get this:- there is ONLY ONE viable long-term strategy for the future of humanity. It is compassion without borders, exception or excuse.

10:14PM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

I like to assume whoever who voted yes clicked on it by accident. Is it a budget thingy for NASA to even consider such absurd tests for the sake of spending their money????? They probably need to ensure they spend all the money that's allocated for them to ensure they will have enough if not more for next financial year's budget. The more evil stuff we humans do on others, the more diseases and repercussions are given to us. Why can't people see that?

3:06PM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

Who are the people who voted Yes on this question? It is impossible to think that they can be serious. Either they did not understand the question or they are complete benighted morons.

3:29PM PDT on Oct 3, 2010

It's about time that someone did something visible to stop testing on animals. If they need subjects for testing, why not offer the opportunity to criminals of heinous crimes? That would be serving a better service than torturing defenseless creatures whose only crime is breathing human air.

5:34AM PDT on Oct 3, 2010

Bashing NASA as a whole just on the basis of some projects (including unnecessary, unreliableand cruel experiments on primates) is just as fundamentally unsound as the writer rightly claims vivisection is. I shouldn't need to remind anyone that NASA represents one of the few long term strategies for the future of humanity.

11:29AM PDT on Sep 27, 2010

I'm very grateful she resigned. Hopefully Nasa will not go through with this. It is so wrong.

2:51AM PDT on Sep 27, 2010

Good job, April! (=

3:44PM PDT on Sep 24, 2010

Screw you, Nasa! Being caring does not make one uneducated! Get your inflated heads out of the clouds!

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