Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Army To Phase Out Nerve-Agent Tests On Monkeys At Aberdeen Proving Ground

After sustained pressure from animal rights groups and a member of Congress, the Army has agreed to stop injecting monkeys with high doses of a nerve-blocking drug meant to simulate a nerve gas attack.

The practice, carried out at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County, Md., is designed to train Army medical personnel to respond to chemical attacks on troops.

Last month, Aberdeen received a shipment of 20 male African green monkeys from a Florida company, Worldwide Primates, for the tests, which the Army has been carrying out since at least 2005. Army documents show the monkeys were to be anaesthetized, injected with a nerve-blocking agent, physostigmine, and observed by Army medical personnel before receiving an antidote.

Worldwide Primates obtained the monkeys from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, according to Army documents.

Army spokesman Michael Elliott confirmed Thursday that the Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense at Aberdeen will “phase out” the nerve tests on the primates, also known as vervet monkeys, although he did not provide a timeline.

Full story here.

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