Letters: Rhesus Research

I couldn’t help but notice the stark environment surrounding the Rhesus monkeys pictured in the Fall 2009 On Wisconsin [“Subtract Calories, Add Years?”, News & Notes]. Jane Goodall recently stated in TIME magazine that subjecting primates to lives of test research is abusive and equivalent to torture. Do we really need to abuse monkeys to know that overeating is bad for our health? I would love UW-Madison to allow open viewing of all primate research and create test conditions that don’t confine monkeys or other animals to cages like the ones that Canto and Owen have lived in for almost thirty years.

Mary Eiler Radl ’82
Tomah, Wisconsin

How delightful to see that nearly fifty years after the “groundbreaking” research of Dr. Harry Harlow, UW researchers are once again using Rhesus monkeys in essential research that will have tremendous benefits for mankind. Harlow’s experiments with baby Rhesus monkeys demonstrated that babies deprived of their mothers and raised in horrid conditions actually develop psychotic, antisocialbehaviors. (Who ever could have guessed?!)

Now another generation of monkeys has been confined for almost three decades in small cages to prove the unthinkable: overeating has bad health implications and can reduce one’s lifespan!

And of course, now that we know these “dramatic” findings, humans everywhere will no doubt begin eating less, diabetes and obesity will end, and we will all live forever, just like child neglect and abuse ended thanks to Harlow’s findings. Shame on my alma mater for continuing to abuse, confine, and use sentient, intelligent beings to prove the obvious!

Stephanie Rane Chamberlain ’92
Denver, Colorado

Published in the Winter 2009 issue


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