The use of monkeys at Aberdeen Proving Ground in a training session amounts to institutionalized torture ("APG shouldn't needlessly harm monkeys," Sept. 27). In their recent opinion article, physicians Barbara and Martin Wasserman pointed out the reasons why monkeys are particularly inappropriate in chemical casualty training.

These monkeys are the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, it is not just monkeys. There are around 500 chimpanzees left over from the space program that are being warehoused by the U.S. Air Force. These highly-intelligent, sentient, social beings are being kept in the equivalent of solitary confinement in small cages unable to see or interact with each other. This is how our government treats our closest living relatives. We abhor abuse of our pets, cats and dogs, but where is the hue and cry when it is our government abusing animals in the name of training or research?

It would be much cheaper and more humane to house former research animals in sanctuaries than letting them languish in prison. In order to stop the madness of institutionalized torture of animals, we all need to let our elected representatives know that it is unacceptable for our government to allow research on primates to continue and that former research animals should be housed in sanctuaries.

Barbara L. Pilert, Baltimore