ONTD Political

US slowly moves towards ending use of chimpanzees in medical research

12:31 am - 12/29/2012
The NIH announced plans on Tuesday to move more than 100 chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center into retirement at Chimp Haven, a 200-acre chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana. It’s the latest in a series of moves to put the practice of chimp testing to an end — for good.

At Chimp Haven, they’re frantically preparing to expand. They’ll be able to take about half the New Iberia chimps in the next few months, but will need to build $2.3 million worth of enclosures to accommodate the rest
, said Chimp Haven president Linda Brent.

“I see this as a big game changer,” she told me. “All of the events in the last year have changed the outlook for research chimps.”

NIH lacks the funding to contribute to construction, so the Humane Society of the United States and the nonprofit Foundation for the National Institutes of Health is helping to raise money.

Miles O’Brien reported on the subject last spring. As producer, I accompanied him on a trip to Chimp Haven and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, where the NIH is still funding invasive research.

During the trip, we saw firsthand how rowdy, playful and clever these animals are. They were easy to relate to. They grieved, laughed and made friends. They clung to stuffed animals like toys, stomped their feet when frustrated and chased each other with sticks. We even heard a story about a male chimpanzee browsing through a Victoria’s Secret catalog and then hiding it, embarrassed, when a caregiver approached.

We also saw chimps that were apparently traumatized after leaving research facilities, like Chris in the video above, who clung fearfully to a 17-foot-high concrete wall, while her cousins roamed freely through the pine, elm and sweetgum forest. They had a name for such chimps at Chimp Haven: “wall walkers.”

Complicating the subject was that most of the research is being done on Hepatitis C, a disease four times as prevalent as HIV/AIDS and the main cause of liver disease and failure — arguably the worst epidemic people know the least about.

But alternatives are emerging, including cell cultures, computer models and labs in New York and Maine that are developing so-called humanized mice with livers that can be infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

The U.S. is one of the only remaining nations to allow scientists to conduct medical testing on chimps. Japan, Europe and the UK have all ended chimpanzee research.


The video video at source has a lot more info, definitely worth watching. caution, may contain some disturbing images. Includes info that only US and Gabon still allow testing on chimps and what exactly they're still being used for
tabaqui 29th-Dec-2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
Seems like we should have moved beyond animal testing *years* ago. I'm glad it's happening, but it needs to move along a lot quicker.
romp 29th-Dec-2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
Good.

I watched Project Nim, documentary about a chimp raised by humans who spent some time in a research lab, with the expectation that it would be kind of nice, maybe a little poignant. No, his story was just bizarre. It was an exercise in the arrogance of humans (and profs who sleep with students) and the chimpanzee is the one that suffers most.

Anyway, after seeing that film, I have a better sense of how ill-suited chimps are for a life of confinement so I'm glad of that news.
theloudcafe 30th-Dec-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
i really want to take this article seriously

especially because the treatment of animals is a very important subject to me

but

i can't help but think "we're still testing on chimpanzees? did we learn nothing from planet of the apes?"

in all seriousness, i am glad we are moving away from that.
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