Stop Experimenting on Primates

The use of medical research apes was banned by Europe last year. That leaves only the United States and Gabon as the ONLY places that continue to use chimpanzees for medical research. (By the way, Gabon is a state in west central Africa) That’s it. Every other country agrees that medical research can be accomplished with lower cost, higher-tech alternatives. Yet, as developed and advanced as the United States is supposed to be, we still have over 1,000 chimps currently being used for medical experimentation.

Now we know more than ever before just how much pain is inflicted on these poor animals. And, scientifically, there’s no justification for the pain any more. It’s unethical. There’s more accurate and sophisticated means of conducting research that cost less than keeping these animals for medical research.

One of the reasons I became interested in this subject is because of a hot issue that was going on here in my state of New Mexico. Last year there were many articles in the local paper because our Governor at the time, Bill Richardson, was very active in preventing 200 older apes from being placed back into a medical research facility.

These poor animals were subjected to medical experiments for 30 years and then, finally, transferred and retired from this awful, painful existence. Their health was poor due to their years of testing so the remainder of their lives would probably be shortened but at least now they were retired.

THEN, the NIH (the National Institutes of Health), decided they wanted to ship them to a research lab in Texas to again be subjected to cruel medical experimentation and testing.

Richardson teamed up with Jane Goodall to call attention to this outrageous plan and to work to put a stop to it. Eventually, NIH backed down but they still transferred 14 of the apes so it wasn’t a complete victory.

First Taste of Freedom

The video below isn't narrated in English but you really don't need to know what they're saying to get the message.These primates were used in Aides experiments for 30 years!! They had never seen grass or the sun. Caged and tortured for half of their lives. You can see their patches of missing fur and of course their bodies have taken a terrible toll for the sake of these experiments. This video lets you share their joy at their first taste of freedom in the sanctuary where they live now. Just look at their faces and their body language. The joy and wonder.

Apes Feel Sunshine for the First Time

Shrinking Support

Fortunately, primate medical research has steadily declined in the past decade. But there's no reason for it be continuing in any way. There are other methods available that costs less than using animals and that result in more accurate results.

It's a Catch-22 for some people. They are favorites for medical testing because their brains are similar to human brains in structure and functional features. But this also means there's an increased chance that they suffer and experience pain in the same way humans do.

There is no justification for harming these animals in any way shape or form. Not only are they being born to a sterile, pain filled existence with no love or caring shown to them, their pain is unnecessary. It seems to be all about the money. Experimenting on these animals has turned into a sadistic practice that is fed with tax payers money to perform completely useless experiments.

Here are Some Sites - Find More Information on Primates

Center for Great Apes - They provide a permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been retired from the entertainment industry and from research experiments.

Chimps Inc.

Jane Goodall Institute - is a global nonprofit that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.

PETA - is committed to helping local animal activists around the world. you can sign up for rss feeds, subscribe to their newsletter, or donate money.

Physicians Committee for the Responsible Medicine - Ethical Research

SavetheChimps.org - This is the largest sanctuary for rescued chimps. They were saved from research labs, entertainment and the pet trade. They house over 300 but depend mostly on donations. You can even become an adoptive parent or give an adoption to someone as a gift.

Stop Primate Animal Testing

Types of Research Conducted Using Primates

Invasive procedures


Chimpanzees have suffered many invasive procedures that included the following procedures:

  • Removed or destroyed portions of their brains to test brain function
  • Killed them and removed their organs (hearts, kidneys, livers) to be used for human transplants (all of which failed)
  • Exposed them to huge doses of radiation causing significant damage
  • Castrated and removed their pituitary glands, followed by hormone analysis
  • Placed electrodes into their brains

Poisoning

Chimpanzees have been used to test the toxicity of insecticides, chemicals, and pharmaceutical drugs.

  • Chimpanzees were used extensively to study chemical carcinogens. Chimpanzees would be subjected to various carcinogens, radiation, and viruses.
  • Large doses of interferons were administered to chimps to test side effects and toxicity.
  • Alcohol was infused into chimpanzees inoculated with hepatitis B to test whether it would induce liver damage.

Physical trauma

Chimpanzees have been subjected to severe physical trauma and killed by the U.S. Air Force for air and space travel research. They were killed in crashes at supersonic speeds, burned in wind blast experiments, and killed when they were spun in centrifuges.

In separate experiments, researchers subjected chimpanzees to severe head trauma, high impact, and whiplash. Others exposed them to adverse conditions like rapid decompression to a state of near vacuum or gravitational forces while they were submerged in water.

Mental trauma

Toddler chimpanzees have been subjected to severe isolation – in some cases for up to four years. Baby chimpanzees were taken from their mothers at birth to test behavior.

Infectious and fatal diseases

Chimpanzees have been infected with almost every major disease known to kill humans including typhoid, ebola, kuru, malaria, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob.

Chimps may not be given painkillers or other medication to relieve any symptoms because scientists are concerned about interfering with results.

The Suffering is Endless

The suffering is endless for some. The research, pain, illness, and disease is one thing. Think about their daily life of ongoing mental and physical suffering. Monkeys experience loneliness, fear, frustration and stress from being held in captivity.

The link between physical and mental health has been observed in chimpanzees. Adverse mental states have detrimental effects on their physical health. Chimps used in laboratory experiments suffer similar levels of PTSD - post-traumatic stress disorder as their human counterparts who have been tortured. This is one of the studies that convinced Great Britain to stop using primates in experiments.

TLC's Endangered Ink Project

Maybe you can't afford to donate to help with the cause - but writing or calling your Congressman to persuade them to vote for the new bill that would put an end to this testing would be a wonderful contribution.

My friend has believed in helping these beautiful animals for quite a few years and she started a project with her business to raise money for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. She's a tattoo artist by trade and for every tattoo of an endangered species she's asked to do, she donates the entire amount to the Gorilla Fund. The customer also gets a discounted price for these tattoos so they're happy with their tat and price while also doing a good thing for a good cause. Everyone's happy!

Examples of Useless Testing

Examples of Actual Tests Conducted on Apes and Chimps

PETA revealed a study conducted at Columbia University. Monkeys had metal pipes implanted into their skulls just to induce stress. It was done to study the connection to a woman’s menstrual cycle and stress.

In a sensory deprivation experiment, newborn monkeys were taken from their mothers and locked up by themselves in the dark and alone. They had to wear masks so they could only see a monitor they were hooked up to. Three newborns died and the others had irreversible brain damage.

Monkeys were divided into three groups and each group had a different portion of their brains removed. Once they regained consciousness, they were exposed to threatening and scary situations to study their responses. Rubber snakes and other props were used to cause them fear.

Four young monkeys had the skin and muscle on their heads peeled back so their skulls were revealed. A recording chamber was then attached to the skull with dental cement. The monkeys were then exposed to optical experiments lasting up to 72 hours. In the end, they were all killed with a lethal injection.

Some Progress on the Issue - 6/13

There’s some hope that in the near future that all chimpanzees will be declared endangered. This would be a strong instrument in helping the apes that are still used for invasive medical research. Up to now wild chimps were listed as endangered but chimps in captivity were listed as threatened. The difference helped to allow the National Institutes of Health to pour money into medical experiments using captive chimps.

Today fewer than 300,000 apes remain due to infringing on their habitats and hunting them for meat.

Conservation groups requested the change to the rule that split the two groups two years ago. Now it's summer of 2013 and it looks like the federal government has finally taken a step in the right direction. The conservation groups feel the change by the Fish and Wildlife Service would help the plight of the chimpanzees used for experimentation. I hope that is the case but there's no reason for any type of medical tests to be conducted on these animals. It's a waste of money and only causes pain and sentences these animals to a life of pain on so many different levels.

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Comments 4 comments

Lyn.Stewart profile image

Lyn.Stewart 5 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

voted up beautiful, interesting and useful ...

Thank you for sharing this info ... more people should be made aware of what is happening to these wonderful creatures.


Sue826 profile image

Sue826 5 years ago from Albuquerque Author

I agree - and now the timing is so important as the debate is on with Congress - hopefully they'll follow the lead of other developed countries and end it entirely.


Stella 5 years ago

Hi! Just to know when did you posted this article? It's very interesting I realise how much animal testing is awful!


Sue826 profile image

Sue826 5 years ago from Albuquerque Author

Hi Stella - in September. I got involved with the topic when it became a political issue here in New Mexico. We were going to send these poor elderly apes back into a lab in Texas. The story broke my heart. Fortunately, our Governor fought to prevent it.

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