Research Findings Could Effectively End Chimpanzee Experimentation
A new paper co-authored by Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., finds that chimpanzees should be treated as vulnerable research subjects. The research findings, if applied, could effectively end invasive experiments on privately owned chimpanzees.
“Like children or people confined to institutions, chimpanzees are vulnerable to harm and exploitation,” explains John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee. “Everything from the actual invasive experiments, blood draws, and biopsies to captivity and transport causes chimpanzees stress and pain and can even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Because they are not capable of giving meaningful consent, chimpanzees need an extra layer of protection that would effectively ban researchers from using them in experiments, except in cases in which they stand to benefit personally—for example, when a sick chimpanzee might receive an experimental medication.
Although the National Institutes of Health has decided to end its use of chimpanzees, privately owned chimpanzees are still used in invasive experiments. New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana houses more privately owned chimpanzees than all other United States labs combined and has been repeatedly cited for Animal Welfare Act violations. Behind its locked doors, baby chimpanzees have died as a result of overcrowding and negligence.
The Physicians Committee has urged New Iberia’s director to apply these research findings and release every chimpanzee under the lab’s roof to a sanctuary.