National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Iranian Space Agency to send monkeys into space

Posted: 24 January 2013. Updated: 24 January 2013


In a pointlessly cruel and retrograde step in space research, the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) is planning to send monkeys into space. Recent news reports have stated that a number of primates are currently in quarantine and an unknown number will be sent into space at the beginning of February, during a 10-day period when the Iranian Revolution is commemorated. One article refers to a failed attempt to send a monkey into space in 2011 although no further details of this mission were given.

The ISA claims that the use of primates in research will enable it to “examine human factors in space” however if Iran continues with this mission, they will be taking a huge leap backwards for space research. Manned space missions provide a wealth of data, the benefits of which are incomparable to the use of animals. A critical review of research on primates has also found that results can be “irrelevant, unnecessary, even hazardous to human health and to have little or no predictive value or application to human medicine.”

The ISA’s stance is at odds with the European Space Agency (ESA) which has distanced itself from the use of primates, previously commenting that “ESA declines any interest in monkey research and does not consider any need or use for such research results”. In 2010, NASA also abandoned plans to carry out radiation experiments on squirrel monkeys. (For details see here)

In the words of Soviet cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev, who set a world record for time in space, “The existing knowledge received from past experience of long time space flights is quite enough right now to predict their influence on people”.

For Iran to press ahead with sending a monkey into space would be inexcusable. Please help the NAVS campaign to halt the mission and end the use of animals in space research.

Take action:

  • Please contact the Iranian Space Agency and urge them to cancel their plans to send monkeys into space
  • Ask the Iranian government to end the use of animals in space research and put pressure on the ISA to cancel its planned mission – contact the Embassy where you live here

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