BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH ON CHIMPANZEES
NOT NECESSARY SAYS INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report recently stating that "biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary." The report, which can be accessed here, notes that the genetic makeup of chimpanzees, their closeness to humans and their similar biological and behavioral characteristics demands a "greater justification for conducting research on them."
Female chimpanzee behind research glass
IOM is an independent, non-profit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice for decision makers and the public. IOM bases its reports on sound scientific research in order to improve health and health care. Sadly, the IOM did make exceptions for limited use research on chimpanzees in development of antibody therapies for cancerous tumors and for development of a vaccine for Hepatitis C.
However, IOM issued new criteria to be considered before chimpanzees can be used in research. These criteria are:
1). The knowledge gained must be necessary to advance public health.
2). There must be no other research model by which the knowledge could be obtained, and the research cannot be ethically performed on human subjects.
3). The animals used in research must be maintained either in ethnologically appropriate physical and social environments or in natural habitats.
Chimpanzee subjected to continuous electric shocks via electrodes attached to exposed brain tissue
While it is disappointing that the IOM based its findings on scientific merit alone and continues to fail to take ethical considerations into account to ban research on primates outright, the National Institute of Health (NIH), the U.S. government's medical research agency has stated that NIH will adopt the IOM criteria. Additionally, NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins responded to the IOM report by saying that all future research on chimpanzees will have to meet the above criteria, of the 37 grants currently active approximately 50% may not be reapproved, no new grants for research using chimpanzees will be awarded at this time, and the 186 chimpanzees currently living in the NIH New Mexico facility will remain "inactive."
What You Can Do:
1). Speak Out Against Testing on Chimpanzees: Contatc NIH Director Francis Collins thanking Dr. Collins for adopting the new IOM criteria and encouraging NIH to stop all research on chimpanzees and animals in general.
Dr. Francis Collins
National Institute of Health
2). Support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011: Contact your Congresspersons and encourage them to co-sponsor or vote in favor of H.R. 1513, The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011. This legislation prohibits the use of tax payer dollars, (estimated to exceed $25 million by the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine) to fund invasive research on great apes and retire all federally owned great apes to sanctuaries.
Email Your Support Here:
3). Stay Involved: Visit the "Vivisection/Animals In Research" section of LCA's Web site. The LCA anti-vivisection campaign includes up-to-date information on the use of animals in research so that you can educate yourself about:
- alternatives to the use of animal testing;
- examples of inaccurate and unnecessary experiments;
- the use of pound seizure to supply researchers with test subjects;
- companies that DO NOT test on animals (available in PDF so that you can support them with your purchasing power); companies that DO test on animals (also available in PDF so that you can boycott them).