Invasive Procedures on 14 Seriously Ill Chimpanzees at San Antonio Facility Should Be Halted Immediately, Legal Petition Says
WASHINGTON—A Texas laboratory is unlawfully using 14 aging and seriously ill chimpanzees in life-threatening invasive experiments that should be halted immediately, argues a Petition for Investigative Action filed Aug. 10 with the federal government by a former chimpanzee researcher, three physicians, and other experts.
Based on recently obtained veterinary records, the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) says that Ken, Katrina, and 12 other chimpanzees at Texas Biomed’s Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio are suffering physical and psychological harm in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
At least two of the chimpanzees are in such poor health that commonly conducted laboratory procedures could kill them. Ken, for example, is at risk of sudden cardiac death, according to veterinary records obtained by PCRM through the Freedom of Information Act. His health is so precarious that veterinarians have placed a Do Not Resuscitate order in his medical file.
The 14 chimpanzees were taken out of a nonresearch facility in New Mexico last year by the National Institutes of Health and transferred to Texas Biomed, where they have undergone liver-punch biopsies and other painful procedures during hepatitis experiments.
“Ken’s veterinary records suggest he won’t live much longer, and his final days should be free from liver biopsies and other painful procedures,” says John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., a Dallas physician and spokesman for PCRM. “A new treatment for hepatitis C was recently approved, and it was developed without using chimpanzees. That is the way forward.”
In addition to their long history of disease and physical stressors, the 14 chimpanzees transferred to Texas Biomed are in poor psychological health. Katrina, for example, has self-mutilated, and Levi has broken teeth chewing on metal, probably the bars of his cage.
In Washington, a committee of scientists convened by the Institute of Medicine is examining the usefulness of chimpanzee experiments. The committee will hear expert and public testimony on Aug. 11-12, and its report issued later this year will impact all chimpanzees in U.S. labs, including Ken and his companions at Texas Biomed.
For a copy of PCRM’s Petition for Investigative Action or an interview with Dr. Pippin or another expert, please contact Jeanne McVey at 202-527-7316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.