Such is Russia’s current method of attack regarding Mars and the very outer limits of space. In actuality there is a long history of utilizing animals to test certain settings prior to humans; especially as it relates to taking part in space missions. Although scientists are quite pleased with the rhesus monkey there are many other species from the fruit fly to the guinea pig. But then PETA wasn’t formed until March of 1980 and so there were no overlords of animal treatment.
Understanding that the actual event itself could be considered by many to be a major incursion on animal rights, the training certainly cannot be viewed as such. Russians state that the animals are trained for three hours a day. That leaves 21 hours for sleep, eating, and roughhousing, not a bad gig. Plus think of it further; one of PETA’s concerns is that the monkeys don’t understand what they are doing and it is terrifying for them. Point of contention; when training a dog can one say the dog ever has an idea what is going on? Many would say no. (I actually think the more intelligent dogs show to be just as intelligent as is asked of them & so I ask it of mine and am rarely disappointed!) None the less in my opinion, strapping them (the monkeys) in would simply require that they first view a human doing the same thing. Of course the actual launch, other than prepping them and getting them used to the noise level and vibrations, I’ve got nothing.
So it must be obvious by now that the great space race is on again and everyone seems to be in on it. Russia though, to date, is the only one suggesting monkey fly. They (Russia) states by 2017 the trained monkeys will be on their way to Mars.
Oh, and on another front – Russia is testing a women-only crew for a mission to the Moon planned for 2029.