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Harvard monkeys die: Investigation results in fine after death of 4 primates

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Harvard monkeys die, which is the headline not only infuriating animal rights activists, but people in the general public today. While this is not the first time that the deaths of Harvard monkeys has hit the media, it is the first time the FDA has stepped up to fine the Ivy League college, according to Web Pro News on Dec. 18.

Four monkeys in all have died over a period of a few years. Back in February of 2012, The Boston Globe reported that the fourth monkey at the New England Primate Research Center had died. They also reported that this is the “fourth monkey to die there under questionable circumstances in less than two years.” In 2012, it was reported that the monkeys’ deaths were under investigation and this week's news that a fine has been handed down to Harvard is the outcome of that investigation.

About a month after the four monkeys deaths were revealed in the media, The Harvard Crimson reported on the last two monkey deaths. It was at that time they announced the suspension of “all new experiments at the center indefinitely. "New" being the key word here because it was business as usual in the lab, they just didn't start any new research. This wasn't of much help to the monkeys who were still in the lab and objects of the research at Harvard.

A few of the monkeys' deaths were caused because water bottles weren't working properly, causing the primates to be without water and dying of dehydration. Another death is due to a toy that a monkey was given to play with, but the animal accidentally strangled on the string attached to the toy. These were avoidable deaths and really nothing that had to do with the research, they had to do with the care of the animals.

One of the four monkeys was given an overdose of anesthesia. It wasn't just PETA who got involved with protesting the treatment of the monkeys back when the monkeys died, a prestigious physician's group also took action.

At the time the last two monkeys were reported to have died, Doctors with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have invoked the Endangered Species Act against the Harvard laboratory. This was because two of the monkeys were on the endangered species list. They doctors complaint claimed that the Harvard lab neglected and killed two cotton-top tamarins, a critically endangered primate species.

Back in 2012, The Harvard Crimson reported that the deaths of the monkeys could leave the school hit with a fine of up to $10,000. The news this week that Harvard will be fined $24,000 is more than expected when the deaths were reported to the media last year. This is not anywhere near enough of a fine according to the animal rights group PETA. They feel that this small amount of money won’t be felt as a consequence to the school's finances and in turn the money won't do much to stop this from happening again.

PETA is also happy over the decision to close this lab for good. The announcement came last year after the death of the fourth monkey was reported. After the announcement was made last year PETA wrote:

“Thankfully, the school already recognizes that tormenting monkeys is not the future of science and made the laudable decision to completely shut down its nightmarish primate center by 2015, meaning that thousands of animals will be spared this same horrible fate.”

This is the only good news to come out of the incidents of the four dead monkeys. People are outraged to think that the mistreatment of animals was happening at Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities on the globe. These animals didn't die at the hands of some backwoods hunters, these were educated people who were supposedly handling the monkeys humanely. The comments across the social networks today are vast, the overwhelmingly majority of the comments are people expressing outrage.

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