Target: Vladimir Fortov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Goal: Stop using monkeys as astronauts.
Russia is training a group of four rhesus macaques—a well-known species of monkey—to go to Mars in 2017. It is not clear whether the mission is meant to be a one-way trip or if the monkeys are expected to return. Either way, the use of monkeys as astronauts is cruel and inhumane for reasons that are self-evident.
The advent of space exploration in the mid-20th century saw the exploitation and abuse of dogs, primates and other animals, which were used in both experiments and space missions—often times dying as a result. In 1948, the first primate to go to space, Albert I, suffocated and died in his spacecraft. A year later, another primate named Albert II went to space and died on his return when his parachute failed. These are merely two high-profile examples of primates being made to suffer wrongful deaths so that humans could expand their knowledge of space.
Since then, the use of non-human animals for these purposes has largely been phased out. NASA, the European Space Agency and the Chinese National Space Administration have all modernized their programs, eschewing the use of primates in their research and missions in favor of human simulators and other humane alternatives.
And yet, according to Tech Times, scientists at the Russian Academy of Science “have been working on training monkeys three hours a day in preparation for the possibility of sending them on space missions.” The hope is that these monkeys will be prepared for a mission to Mars, to which they obviously cannot consent, by 2017.
Please sign the below petition urging Russian authorities to release these monkeys from captivity and deliver them to a sanctuary where they can live in peace.
I respectfully urge you to discontinue your training of four rhesus macaques for the purpose of a Mars expedition. These animals are intelligent, sensitive creatures, and they deserve to live a peaceful life free from undue stress and suffering. Training and using them for space exploration to which they cannot consent is cruel and inhumane.
Major space agencies like NASA, the European Space Agency and the Chinese National Space Administration no longer use animals for experimentation or missions, favoring humane alternatives instead. Please follow their example by releasing the captive rhesus macaques from your program and sending them to a sanctuary where they belong.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Einar Fredriksen