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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE March 5, 2009

Primate Experts Available for Comment on New Iberia Primate Abuse and Great Ape Protection Act

United States Must End Invasive Experiments on Chimpanzees, Primatologist Says

WASHINGTON—Primate experts with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are available for comment on the abuse of chimpanzees at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, as well as the Great Ape Protection Act, bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress today that would phase out all use of chimpanzees in research.

Currently, more than 1,000 chimpanzees are forced to live in laboratory research settings in the United States. As a result of their use in experiments, chimpanzees can experience early separation from their mothers, social isolation, prolonged captivity, sensory deprivation, and repeated physical harm. An observational study by PCRM researchers found that chimpanzees previously used in experimental research commonly display behaviors overlapping with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other trauma-related disorders.

“People may be shocked to learn that laboratories in the United States are permitted to keep chimpanzees in cages about the size of a kitchen table, sometimes for decades,” says PCRM primatologist Debra Durham, Ph.D. “It’s time for us to join the growing list of countries that ban invasive experiments on these amazing animals.”

PCRM Experts Available for Comment:

*Debra Durham, Ph.D., a primatologist and ethologist, is currently conducting observational research exploring how trauma has affected chimpanzees formerly used in laboratory experiments.

*Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., director of research policy for PCRM, is a physician who has treated asylum seekers who are torture survivors. Dr. Ferdowsian has also been involved in observational research demonstrating that chimpanzees formerly used in laboratory experiments display behaviors overlapping with trauma-related disorders frequently exhibited by human survivors of torture.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne McVey
202-686-2210, ext. 316

Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H.
Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H

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