80% of monkeys kept at a NASA facility had Parkinson’s disease

NEWS AND COMMENT – CALIFORNIA, USA: This is a slightly bizarre and disturbing story about captive monkeys. It is reported by The Guardian newspaper that twenty-seven monkeys were held at NASA’s Ames research Centre in California’s Silicon Valley.

Monkey in medical facility
Monkey in medical facility. This is a stock photo provided by iStockphoto.

They were there because they were taken from a sanctuary years ago. At this unknown sanctuary they developed poor health and their age apparently prevented them being rehomed somewhere else. The monkeys were actually being held by a drug research business called LifeSource BioMedical. It seems that their facility was inside the NASA facility.

It was decided that all the monkeys should be euthanised in one day in 2019 rather than rehomed so that they could enjoy the remainder of their lives. The added shocking information for me is that 80% of the monkeys kept at this facility had Parkinson’s disease as disclosed in a document acquired by The Guardian newspaper.

As you can imagine, animal advocates are outraged. It is said that the Parkinson’s disease developed because of the deprivations under which they were kept throughout either all their lives or a significant part of their lives. John Gluck at the University of New Mexico said that the monkeys were “apparently not considered worthy of a chance at a sanctuary life. Not even a try? Disposal instead of the expression of simple decency. Shame on those responsible.”

He expresses the feelings of the vast majority of people. The monkeys were not used in animal research while under the ‘care’ of LifeSource BioMedical it is claimed. It would be nice to know a little more about their early life because it appears to me that a source of the mental health damage done to them occurred at the previous sanctuary (so-called sanctuary but clearly not that much of a sanctuary if they became mentally ill there). Although they were at NASA for many years and therefore we need to know more about the conditions under which they lived there. It appears to have been entirely unsuited and damaging to their mental wellbeing.

The fact of the matter is that twenty-seven primates were abused throughout their lives in one way or another and latterly at a NASA facility. It is not a good look in terms of humankind’s approach to animal welfare. Kathleen Rice, a US House representative, is asking questions to find out what happened. 74,000 monkeys were used in animal testing experiments in the US in 2019 according to The Guardian. Horrible.

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