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Behind the Scenes at Institute of Medicine's Meeting on Chimpanzee Experiments
August 18, 2011

Chimpanzee experiments are not necessary to test new HIV vaccines. They aren’t needed to create a new therapeutic for hepatitis C. Or to develop monoclonal antibody therapeutics. Or to create a malaria vaccine. Or to advance biodefense work.

Those statements from scientists at key research institutions and major pharmaceutical companies came during a recent Washington, D.C., meeting of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which is evaluating the scientific value of chimpanzee experiments.

GlaxoSmithKline and Genentech representatives said their companies develop drugs without using chimpanzees. And hepatitis C treatments from Vertex and Merck were recently approved without the use of chimpanzees.

PCRM’s own experts testified about the scientific and ethical problems with using chimpanzees in invasive research. And primatologist Jane Goodall also objected to the use of these highly social animals in traumatic experiments. 

The Institute of Medicine committee will issue its report later this year that will affect the future of every chimpanzee in a U.S. laboratory. In the meantime, PCRM is asking Congress to pass legislation to stop funding chimpanzee experimentation and release federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuaries.

We’re also asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to immediately remove 14 aging and seriously ill chimpanzees from a San Antonio experimentation facility. The chimpanzees were taken out of retirement last year by NIH and transferred to Texas Biomed, where they are being used in painful and life-threatening experiments.

The San Antonio chimpanzees have a long history of being used in invasive experiments. Rosie was chemically immobilized 99 times by researchers. Katrina has suffered through at least 36 liver biopsies and has been infected with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Levi has high blood pressure and heart disease, placing him at risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death. They are all subject to even more experimentation at Texas Biomed.

Let me ask your help in ending chimpanzee experiments and supporting modern research methods that protect human health. Ask your Senators and Members of Congress to pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act. You’ll find more details at


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