Three US senators have called for medical research on chimpanzees to be banned. The US is the last major industrialised country which still uses the apes for experiments.
Three US senators have called for medical research on chimpanzees to be banned. The US is the last major industrialised country which still uses the apes for experiments. “Scientists worldwide have halted chimpanzee experiments, because these intelligent creatures suffer immensely and are poor models for researching human diseases,” said Elizabeth Kucinich of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Her research ethics group has campaigned for the bills currently being sponsored in the Senate and House of Representatives.
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act would mandate the release to sanctuaries of chimps owned by the government and ban breeding for experiments. About 1,000 chimpanzees remain in labs in the US, including about 500 that belong to the National Institutes of Health. Numbers are dropping anyway due to a ban on reproduction in captivity and because it is against the law to import them.
Last year, the European Union banned the use of chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas in experiments and placed restrictions on using other primates, after similar measures passed in Japan, Australia and other wealthy nations.
Some researchers still defend the use of chimpanzees in medical research. John VandeBerg of the Southwest National Primate Research Center told the Washington Post that much progress had been made in hepatitis research using chimpanzees. He said the experiments aided the development of “many drugs for treating both hepatitis B and C”. ~ AFP, Apr 13
US legislators seek ban on chimp experiments
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