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October 19, 2011

Great News! The U.S. Army Will Stop Using Monkeys in Harmful Training Courses

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    In September, Vervet monkeys were shipped from the island of St. Kitts to a military facility in Aberdeen, Md. for use in an Oct. 23 training course. iStockphoto.com

Live monkeys will be replaced with humane, non-animal alternatives in future chemical warfare trainings for soldiers, the U.S. Army has announced.

The decision was made following pressure from concerned citizens, animal welfare groups and U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R.-Md.). In the weeks prior to the announcement, more than 1,000 HSUS supporters contacted the Army urging that the use of monkeys be discontinued.

Instead of live monkeys, The Washington Post reported that the Army plans to use a combination of “trained actors, computer programs and high-tech, mannequin-like patient simulators” to train soldiers in the future.

Take action—thank the Army »

“We are pleased that the Army has committed to training soldiers using non-animal methods that more closely simulate the human experience, thus resulting in highly trained soldiers and sparing animal suffering in the process,” said Kathleen Conlee, senior director of Animal Research Issues at The Humane Society of the United States.

The Army’s Medical Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties courses, which take place at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a military facility in Aberdeen, Md., have as recently as September involved inflicting chemical warfare-related injuries on monkeys so that soldiers can observe the animals' reactions.

Symptoms include breathing difficulties, intense sweating and salivation, muscle twitching, violent seizures, severely low blood pressure, dangerously low oxygen levels, urination, defecation, and vomiting.

Documentation shows that the Aberdeen facility received a shipment of wild vervet (also known as African green) monkeys on Sept. 30 for use in an upcoming training course, which begins on Sunday, Oct. 23.  

Thank the Army for its decision and ask that the switch to humane alternatives be implemented before the next training course. Take action now »

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