one green planet
one green planet

A recent study completed by Harvard Medical School was published in September and made the rounds on social media, reigniting the seemingly never-ending animal testing debate. In Margaret S. Livingstone’s study, the researcher discovered that baby monkeys “form strong and lasting attachments to inanimate surrogates, but only if the surrogate is soft.” In addition, Livingstone was able to report that “postpartum monkey mothers can also form strong and lasting attachments to soft inanimate objects.” The backlash wasn’t immediate, although once it made its way to social media the news spread quickly.

letter sent on October 22 and signed by more than 250 scientists called for the retraction of this study’s results; the letter was specifically addressed to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the journal that published the study. These scientists describe the animal testing mentioned in the study as being “unethical.” The group of scientists includes primatologists with a total of 100+ years of experience working  with both wild and captive primates, and they believe that it is time to end the “unethical treatment of nonhuman animals for research.” The letter says that there is plenty of evidence about the important maternal bond between mother monkeys and their babies, and in this study, they were unfairly — and permanently — separated from one another. The scientists state that the study was unnecessary, as there was already plenty of sufficient evidence, and conclude by stating that the study fails to “advance scientific knowledge.”

In response to this letter and information published by PETA, Harvard Medical School issued a statement in which they said that they were “deeply concerned about the personal attacks directed at scientists who conduct critically important research for the benefit of humanity.” Livingstone’s studies, the statement claims, help us understand maternal bonding in humans, which can in turn improve how we deal with stillbirths and miscarriages. Livingstone issued a separate statement in which she asserts that she had made it her life’s work to spend time “unraveling the mysteries of the human brain.” She provides a plethora of examples from past studies which were successful and claims to be “demonized” by people who are opposed to animal testing.

Source: PETA/YouTube

Animal testing has long been the subject of debate, and those opposed to it feel as strongly as those who are for it. Most people opposed to it see it as completely unethical and unnecessary, whereas those who are for it often feel as though science is not yet ready for animal-free research. According to PETA, Livingstone’s experiments have involved baby monkeys being separated from their mothers, and consequently having their eyes sewn shut in sensory deprivation environments. Livingstone has, they go on to say, managed to raise $32 million from the National Institutes of Health since 1989. In addition, they say, when she is done with her so-called “subjects,” she kills them and dissects their brains.

Related Content:

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
  • Support Independent Media: Being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
  • Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!