The government and the medical industry have repeatedly distorted the truth in the eight-year battle over the fate of the Silver Spring monkeys. Their latest effort, in the form of a letter to the editor {July 17} from the defense attorney in the criminal trial for animal cruelty, states that Dr. Edward Taub, the laboratory director, was "cleared of all criminal charges of animal cruelty."

I was the prosecuting attorney in that case. The facts are that Dr. Taub was convicted of animal cruelty. The Maryland Court of Appeals overturned that conviction not because of a lack of evidence of cruelty but because the Court was uncertain that the Maryland anti-cruelty statute was intended to include cruelty in a federally-funded laboratory. The Maryland legislature immediately amended the anti-cruelty statute to specifically include laboratories. Of course, this action could not change the outcome of the Taub trial.

The "serious inaccuracy" referred to by the defendants in that action is clearly on their side and not on the side of humanitarians. ROGER W. GALVIN Washington

It is disturbing to see the issue of the Silver Spring monkeys sensationalized on the pages of The Post with the headline "Silver Spring Monkeys Die in La. Experiment" {July 7}. This headline implies that death occurred during the experiments and was even caused by experimental procedures. It is highly irresponsible and hypocritical of The Post to allow portrayal of these scientists as crude barbarians, as if animal torture were one of the primary occupations of biomedical scientists. I doubt that journalists truly accept these implications or are prepared to forgo the benefits of modern medicine for themselves and all of society.

It would have been more in the public interest to emphasize that the procedures performed on the monkeys were approved by the Committee for Care and Use of Animals at Tulane University and are also in compliance with federal regulations governing animal experimentation. The animals were anesthetized before the experiments and were in no pain. They were euthanized after the experiments were carried out as part of an approved protocol. The research is designed to obtain invaluable information on the capacity of the cerebrum to reorganize following long-term deprivation of normal sensory feedback whenever the animals moved their arms. The Silver Spring monkeys are unique in having endured such deprivation for an unprecedented period of years after initial procedures to sever nerves in one of their arms.

In recent years the deterioration of the animals' health has been repeatedly documented, and it would have been inhumane to keep them alive in their debilitated condition.

PATRICIA S. GOLDMAN-RAKIC President, Society for Neuroscience Washington