Friday, 3 May 2013

Monkeys at Risk as Harvard Terminates Center: Op-Ed

Brian Hare studies the cognitive abilities of primates and dogs as associate professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University and received his Ph.D. from Harvard. He recently co-authored the New York Times best-seller "The Genius of Dogs" with Vanessa Woods. He contributed this article to LiveScience’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights

Nothing is more controversial in the realm of animal research than medical testing on primates. So when a primate center that is run by the Harvard Medical School announces that it will close, the world takes note. 

Last Tuesday, Harvard announced that the New England Primate Research Center in Southborough, Mass., will be shuttered over the next two years. All of the current research projects will be moved or shut down. The 1,500-individual-strong rhesus macaque colony and the collection of critically endangered cotton-top tamarins will need to be relocated (or potentially euthanized). 

Both the Boston Globe and the New York Times ran articles that were structured similarly: The center had a troubled past because of mistreatment of animals in its care. But, Harvard is claiming that the center is being closed down for economic reasons. A journalist looking for an angle must wonder — which is it? Both papers covered "both" sides of the story by interviewing researchers and what the Boston Globe dubbed "animal rights activists." 

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