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Monkeys Wounded in Army’s Cruel Nerve Agent Demonstrations

UPDATE: Victory for Monkeys as Army Agrees to End Live Chemical Casualty Exercise: After years of pressure from PCRM, on Oct. 13, 2011, the Army announced that it would phase out the use of monkeys for its chemical casualty management courses. The Army completed this transition in November 2011. Now, the Army makes further use of high-fidelity simulators and moulage—superior nonanimal alternatives that meet the needs of U.S. troops far better than the irrelevant monkey laboratory.

Rapid heart rate. Difficulty breathing. Violent seizures. PCRM recently filed two complaints to stop the Army’s poisoning of monkeys in a life-threatening simulated nerve agent attack.

One of PCRM’s legal complaints asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revoke the license of nonhuman primate importer Worldwide Primates and halt an upcoming shipment of monkeys to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where the training takes place. It is unlawful to import primates for use in training exercises that are not educationally or scientifically sound.

PCRM also filed a complaint urging the Department of Defense (DoD) to end the use of monkeys in chemical casualty courses. This exercise constitutes multiple violations of DoD policy on the use of animals, which prohibits using weapons on monkeys for training purposes and requires that animals be replaced with nonanimal alternatives whenever possible.

Monkeys at Aberdeen are used in these exercises as often as every 60 days and can be used for up to three years. They suffer immensely both during and after the poisonings. In a military training video obtained by PCRM through the Freedom of Information Act, a vervet monkey spasms after being given a toxic dose of physostigmine.

In addition to being cruel, this exercise is completely unnecessary due to the wealth of nonanimal training methods available. “Military medical professionals should be fully prepared to cope with a chemical weapons attack, and the best training involves human patient simulators and other high-tech methods,” says John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of academic affairs for PCRM. “A vervet monkey cannot tell you he is nauseated or display other signs and symptoms of a human exposed to nerve agents or other toxic substances, and these chemical injections are extremely cruel.”

To ask your member of Congress to stop the Army from poisoning monkeys in chemical warfare training, visit

primates used in military training


PCRM Online,
October 2011

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