Published in The Hartford Courant
One experiment on monkeys has stopped at the University of Connecticut, but
the true controversy is not about violating regulations. It’s whether such
labs should exist at all.
The idea that scientists ought to have non-human primates at their disposal
relies on finding some ethical borderline between humans and all other
In July 2005, the journal Science published a report involving a panel of 22
scientists, lawyers and philosophers who, for more than a year, debated over
stem cell research using monkeys. The team’s scientists weren’t sure how to
ethically separate humans from other primates.
Regulating drug dosages and the training of handlers does not mitigate the
ethical concern about treating other animals as instruments – animals who,
once conscious of their lives, have individual value unto themselves.
Implicated here are deeper questions than university administrators or the
U.S. Department of Agriculture can reach. Monkeys are caged, and they die,
at UConn and elsewhere, during experiments that follow the USDA protocols.
Tidying up these experiments isn’t enough. It’s time for humanity to evolve
beyond the habit of using other animals as little surrogate people.
Friends of Animals
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant