Letters to the Editor
Animal Abuse at Harvard
To the editor:
Kudos to The Crimson for its stance against animal cruelty in Harvard’s laboratories and its call for the University to take the lead in developing non-animal testing methods (“Confronting Cruelty,” Jan. 26).
All animal experiments are inherently cruel, but here are some of the troubling details behind the recent government citations against Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center: one monkey died when an employee failed to remove her from her cage before sending it through scalding hot water in a mechanical cage washer; another was killed after a drug overdose he was given caused liver failure; and yet another died after being roughly handled. Inspectors found monkeys confined to cages too small for their bodies and suffering from various abnormal behaviors that are the result of severe psychological distress.
These cases violated the law, but students, faculty and alumni would likely be dismayed to learn that the legal experimentation that occurs at Harvard and masquerades as “science” is just as horrific. If Harvard treats non-human primates in this fashion, one can only imagine the abuse to which it subjects other species.
Harvard confines many primates—in fact, it has one of the largest primate populations locked in any U.S. university laboratory. Many of these animals are subjected to painful and distressing experiments, including ones in which they are addicted to cocaine, heroin, nicotine, and alcohol.
The taxpayers and donors who fund these experiments—not to mention the public—would be better served if the millions spent on these experiments were used for clinical studies and treatment for human addicts rather than tormenting monkeys in crude studies that aren’t applicable to human drug addiction and which cause more suffering in the world than they alleviate.
Jessica Sandler ’78
Director, Regulatory Testing Division
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals