Next week, the U.S. Army plans to start poisoning African vervet monkeys with massive chemical overdoses as part of a crude and cruel "show and tell" training exercise at Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground in order to demonstrate the effects of a nerve-agent attack. The overdoses will cause the monkeys to suffer from uncontrollable twitching, seizures, and vomiting, and some will even stop breathing. In a laboratory worksheet that PETA obtained from Aberdeen, one trainee compared a monkey's violent reaction during the exercise to "a chiwawa [sic] sh*tting razor blades."
Aberdeen is set to receive an additional shipment of 20 vervet monkeys from overseas―a frightening journey for them―in late September, and they could well be subjected to these cruel exercises too.
This is one more example of shortchanging our military and pointlessly abusing animals for some elementary exercise that already exists on film! Other military and civilian training programs around the world are using sophisticated human patient simulators that can be programmed to mimic the human response to a nerve-agent attack, which is very different from a vervet monkey's response. And not only are the Army's monkey laboratories cruel and inefficient, they violate Department of Defense policies that prohibit the harming of primates in training exercises and require that non-animal training methods be used when available.