NASA Killed Every Monkey Held At Research Centre In One Day Last Year

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 22 Dec 2020 12:05
NASA Killed Every Monkey Held At Research Centre In One Day Last YearPA Images

NASA killed all of the monkeys living at the space agency’s California research centre earlier this year.

A total of 27 older animals were put to death using administrative drugs on February 2, according to documents uncovered following a freedom of information request.


Animal rights advocates have been left furious at the organisation’s decision to kill the monkeys – 21 of whom are reported to have had Parkinson’s – rather than moving them to an animal sanctuary.

According to John Gluck, an expert in animal ethics at the University of New Mexico, the monkeys were ‘suffering the ethological deprivations and frustrations inherent of laboratory life,’ adding that under NASA’s estimations, the primates were ‘apparently not considered worthy of a chance at a sanctuary life’.

NASA Killed Every Monkey Held At Research Centre In One Day Last YearPA Images

‘Not even a try? Disposal instead of the expression of simple decency. Shame on those responsible,’ he told The Guardian.


New York Democrat Kathleen Rice is now calling on government researchers in the US to consider ‘humane retirement policies’ for the animals who are involved in research.

‘I look forward to an explanation from administrator Bridenstine on why these animals were forced to waste away in captivity and be euthanized rather than live out their lives in a sanctuary,’ she said, after announcing she had written to NASA’s administrator Jim Bridenstine, demanding answers.

The monkeys had been kept by both NASA and drug research company LifeSource BioMedical at the Ames facility.

NASA Killed Every Monkey Held At Research Centre In One Day Last YearPA Images

According to Stephanie Solis, chief executive of LifeSource, the monkeys were given to the lab a number of years ago after their previous owners failed to find a suitable sanctuary for their health and age.

‘We agreed to accept the animals, acting as a sanctuary and providing all care at our own cost, until their advanced age and declining health resulted in a decision to humanely euthanise to avoid a poor quality of life,’ she said.

Solis went on to say that the monkeys hadn’t been involved in any research during their time at the lab and had been provided ‘a good remaining quality of life’.

A spokesperson for Rise for Animals, the organisation which made the grim discovery through a freedom of information document, said that while NASA has ‘many strengths’, its animal welfare practices are ‘obsolete’.


NASA hasn’t commented publicly on the deaths of the animals.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Animals, Monkeys, NASA


  1. Guardian

    Revealed: Nasa killed all 27 monkeys held at research center on single day in 2019