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Campaign to save lab chimps from tests

8th March 2011

Animal rights activists in the United States are campaigning to remove 14 elderly chimpanzees from a medical research facility.

Prison Wire

The activists say the researchers are using the animals to study the effects of bioterrorism agents on chimpanzees.

One of the chimpanzees is 29-years-old, has lived as a test subject, and in a captive environment with thousands of other chimpanzees, and has been chemically immobilised 99 times by researchers since being brought out of a 14-year retirement, activists said.

Subjecting chimpanzees to deadly chemicals and diseases is illegal in the European Union, and the US is the only industrialised country that still allows researchers to do so.

The US National Institutes of Health recently stopped dealing with the Texas-based research laboratory that procured the 14 elderly chimpanzees.

The animals are being used to study the effects of deadly substances like anthrax, and deadly viruses, such as HIV and Ebola, according to campaigners.

John Pippin, a Dallas-based doctor and member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), said that testing on chimpanzees was not scientifically useful to humans.

He said that, as yet, no Hepatitis C vaccine, AIDS vaccine, or malaria vaccine had come about from chimpanzee testing, despite the fact that these three diseases required the use of chimpanzees for testing.

He said that researchers had been given free licence to study disease in chimpanzees for decades, without such research yielding anything of use to the general public.

Pippin said that he believed that the transfer of the chimpanzees to the laboratory constituted an abuse of the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

About 1,000 chimpanzees remain in captivity in US laboratories.

Breeding or importing chimpanzees into the US is against the law.

In a related study, British and African researchers found that 59 chimpanzees studied in a Zambian sanctuary displayed the use of humour and laughter during social bonding.

The researchers said their findings suggested that chimpanzees used forms of communication and self-expression that were more complicated than people might think.

 

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Article Information

Title: Campaign to save lab chimps from tests
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 17805
Date Added: 8th Mar 2011

Sources

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