A group of doctors claims Harvard University has violated the Endangered Species Act by killing and harming cotton-top tamarin monkeys at its primate research center.
As WBUR’s Monica Brady-Myerov reports for our Newscast unit:
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine will file a complaint Thursday with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group wants the agency to force the Harvard lab to release an estimated 167 cotton top-tamarin monkeys to sanctuaries.
The monkeys are critically endangered, says Dr. Marge Peppercorn.
“There is an exception to the Endangered Species Act where animals can be used for research, but they need to have permits, and as best as we could figure out we have no record of Harvard having such permits,” Peppercorn said.
Two cotton-top tamarins have died at the lab over the past two years.
Update at 2 p.m.: In a statement, Harvard Medical School denies that research is being done on cotton top-tamarins:
The New England Primate Research Center has maintained one of the few breeding colonies of cotton-top tamarins in the country. Research is not being conducted on these animals, and efforts are underway to permanently relocate them to other institutions, such as wildlife preserves or sanctuaries. The ethical treatment and welfare of these and all animals remain among our highest concerns.