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BUAV condemns second attempt by Iran to send monkey into space

22/01/2013

Iran is reportedly attempting to reinvigorate its fledgling space programme by sending a live monkey into space within the next month. It will be the second time that they will have attempted this, having previously failed to do so in 2011 without providing any explanation on what went wrong. 

Senior figures within the Government have said that the preliminary tests have all been completed and the monkeys (presumably macaques) are currently being kept in quarantine to await their fate.  

Sadly, there is a long history of animals being cruelly forced to go into space. The first macaque put into orbit was called Albert, sent up in 1949. Since then many animals have been forced to follow, including various species of primates, dogs, mice, fish and frogs, several of whom have never returned. Despite all of this suffering, there have been no discernible benefits to humans. Iran has itself already sent rats, turtles and worms into space and claims that the launch of the monkey is the next stage of a programme which will see an Iranian on the moon by 2025.

Sending animals into space is cruel and totally unacceptable. We urge you to write to the Iranian Embassy in London to call on them to end this cruelty: info@iran-embassy.org.uk and consulate@iran-embassy.org.uk

 

Iranian media have reported that a live monkey was indeed sent into space on Monday 28th January and has returned alive. They have not given any details on the timing or location of the launch or on the state of the animal after the traumatic experience. The animal was forced into a rocket capsule and apparently launched 75 miles into space in an attempt to advance Iran’s space programme.
 
A shocking video has been posted on major news websites of a visibly distressed monkey strapped into a restraint device and being paraded around both before and after his return. However, Iran’s ‘achievement’ is now being brought into question as the two images appear to show two different animals, creating doubt over whether the launch actually took place and whether the monkey survived. Despite the lack of evidence documenting the return of the rocket to earth and the inconsistency between the two images, Iranian authorities insist that the monkey has survived the journey and that they are not trying to cover up a failed flight. They have recently reported that the wrong photos were released and that the monkey in the ‘before’ images was actually from archive photos of a monkey being prepared for launch in 2011. Also, it has finally been confirmed that the monkey did not survive the failed launch attempt in 2011.
 
Read more in the Independent and the Guardian.