Edward Taub, the researcher convicted of animal cruelty in conducting experiments on monkeys, was ordered to pay the maximum $500 fine yesterday by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge.
Judge Calvin R. Sanders told Taub that although the jurors who heard his case apparently believed in animal research, they also believed "there should be some limits on the use of animals" in scientific research.
"You're obviously not a criminal," the judge told Taub. "Sometimes it takes 12 people to say you've gone too far -- you've crossed the line."
In levying the maximum fine, Judge Sanders told Taub, "I hope and trust this will not deter you from your efforts to assist mankind with your research."
Taub, chief of the Institute for Behavioral Research, a Silver Spring firm that studies human behavior, was found guilty of animal cruelty after a worker at his lab complained that the small monkeys being used in his research, which involved severing their sensory nerves, were being mistreated. A District Court judge found him guilty last year, but Taub appealed that decision to the Circuit Court, where a jury found him guilty on July 2.
Taub, who appeared relaxed during yesterday's hearing, said afterward that he does not know whether he will be able to find funding to continue his research. The National Institutes of Health cited Taub's conviction as largely responsible for its decision this week to terminate the $115,068 grant that supported his research.
Taub said he was "very disturbed" by the judge's decision. "There has been a miscarriage of justice," he said. "How can this help but deter me from my work?"
He said he had observed the "highest standards of care" for his research monkeys and was never cruel to the animals. His attorney, James R. Miller, said he will ask the Maryland Court of Appeals to review the case.