the U.S. Army at Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground is planning to conduct a cruel exercise that involves injecting vervet monkeys with a drug overdose to crudely recreate the effects of a nerve agent attack. Monkeys used in the exercise suffer from vomiting and uncontrollable twitching and seizures, and some even stop breathing. In a laboratory worksheet that PETA obtained from Aberdeen, one trainee compared a monkey's violent reaction during the exercise to "a chiwawa [sic] shitting razor blades."
Each of the 32 monkeys locked up at Aberdeen for this laboratory is forced to endure this cruelty as frequently as every 60 days for three years. Miami-based primate importer Worldwide Primates is scheduled to ship 20 vervet monkeys—some of whom may have been ripped from their homes in the wild—to Aberdeen on September 30. We believe that these monkeys may be used in the course as well.
Instead of tormenting animals, other military and civilian training programs around the world use sophisticated human patient simulators. These simulators can be programmed to mimic the human response to a nerve agent attack and be placed in outdoor scenarios that recreate conditions in which such an attack on humans may actually occur—as opposed to a sterile laboratory where a monkey is poisoned and people are instructed to stand around and watch how the monkey's tail moves and how perspiration collects on his or her paws.
In addition to being incredibly cruel and ineffective, the Army's monkey laboratories clearly violate Department of Defense policies that prohibit harming primates for training purposes and that require that alternatives to the use of animals be used when available. Yet, the military has continued to look the other way while animals suffer.
Please help spare monkeys from this outdated and cruel chemical casualty training exercise right now by sending polite e-mails to the commanding general of Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Commander of U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense urging them to replace the use of animals in this laboratory with modern non-animal training methods.