Does the primate center pose a risk to Southborough?

by susan on March 2, 2012

The sad saga surrounding the recent death of several monkeys at Harvard’s primate center on Parmenter Road continued yesterday when the facility’s interim director abruptly stepped down.

Three monkeys have died at the primate center since October. A fourth died back in June 2010. All of the deaths were attributed to human error.

The incidents have raised questions for many about the ethics of medical research on animals. It has also made some in Southborough nervous about the risk the facility – and its recent bad press – presents to the town and its residents.

“It puts all residents of Southborough at risk especially those close to the center, to extremist animal rights activists. It was not too long ago that we heard there was just such a person suspected to be in this area,” one commenter wrote yesterday, referring to reports that animal rights terrorism suspect Daniel Andreas San Diego was thought to be in Massachusetts.

What do you think? The primate center has been a Southborough fixture for decades. Does it present a risk to the town? Or do you think the hoopla is overblown? Share your thoughts in the comments.

1 concerned March 2, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I am less concerned about animal rights extremists than I am for our town housing such a facility. One, you needn’t be an animal rights extremist to be sickened by primates dying from poor care and dehydration and to have this kind of thing happening in our own town? I find it disturbing and am uncomfortable living in the same town with such a facility. I am a scientist, and this is highly unethical treatment. Second, if they can’t manage to ensure that a water bottle is functioning and to note the signs of an animal dying slowly and painfully from dehydration, then how carefully are they monitoring security, animal enclosures, and containment of any dangerous chemicals or viruses? It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence. Are Southborough officials addressing these cases of animal abuse in our own town? I am concerned and would be comforted by town officials at the very least providing a public message that we are not okay with these events.

2 carrie alpert March 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM

i echo all the sentiments from the concerned citizen, each and every one of them. what kind of facility houses living creatures and cannot hire people who at minimum provide the kind of care that ensures that the water bottles are full and functioning. And yes, the concerned member of our community who happens to also be a scientist is spot on when he/she states that if the people working there cannot do that simple task then how are they monitoring what it is they are working on ensuring that if there are any viruses that they are contained? If you are reading this you do realize that they animals are being tested–it is not a hotel or spa.
I am an animal rights activists.
I want the word out that our town is not alright with the unethical treatment and that we want it shut down.

3 carrie alpert March 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM

my other comment is that you can think that it is hoopla or overblown because you want to turn an blind eye to what the center actually is and that is testing on primates. And if a 4th animal has died due to human error and the interim director has stepped down then there are really large problems.
it’s not doggie daycare over there.

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