Monkeys Aren't Astronauts! Ask Russia to Leave Animals Out of the Space Race
Four macaque monkeys face years of gruelling experiments as part of Russia's space-exploration programme.
Animals aren't astronauts. Yet the Russian Academy of Sciences is taking a giant step backwards for science and ethics by using primates in its research into the effects of space travel as part of a projected mission to Mars.
Primates are sensitive and intelligent animals, and they are likely to experience extreme distress during the years of bewildering and stressful tests, kept in an unnatural and constrictive laboratory environment where they would be unable to carry out any natural behaviour.
There's no reason to repeat the dark days of early space exploration, in which dogs and primates were abused and often died as part of experimental missions. One tragic example is Laika, a husky mix who was sent into space on Sputnik 2 in 1957 and died of overheating and panic within hours of takeoff.
Other leading space agencies have stopped exploiting primates in favour of high-tech non-animal technology. For example, after pressure from PETA US, NASA ended cruel experiments on monkeys in 2011, while the European Space Agency has publicly stated that it "declines any interest in monkey research and does not consider any need or use for such result".
Please sign our petition urging the Russian Academy of Sciences to end experiments on monkeys and to send the four macaques to a sanctuary instead.
Sign the Petition
To the Russian Academy of Sciences:
Please end space experiments on monkeys, and let them live out the rest of their lives at a sanctuary instead.
Animals aren't astronauts and, unlike human volunteers, cannot give their consent to being the subject of experiments or risking their lives on a mission into the unknown. These intelligent, sensitive primates would suffer immensely during the years of stressful tests and training – as well as during any potential mission into outer space.
Other pioneering space agencies use high-tech 21st-century technology, rather than conducting archaic experiments on primates. We urge you to do the same.