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US Suspends New Chimp Research

The decision comes after a committee found that the vast majority of research can be done without using chimpanzees.

By | December 15, 2011

ChimpanzeeBY BRADYPUS VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The National Institutes of Health suspended all new chimpanzee research and accepted new guidelines limiting existing work. The announcement came just hours after an expert committee of the Institute of Medicine released recommendations that most research did not need chimpanzees. According to the new guidelines, chimpanzees can only be used if the work is necessary to further human health and there is no other way to do so.

The suspension of new research will be in place at least until an Institute of Medicine working group can decide how to implement the new recommendations, The New York Times reported. The current guidelines still leave open the possibility that new research will be allowed in the future. The ambiguity of the guidelines allowed both opponents of chimpanzee research, such as The Humane Society of the United States, and advocates to praise the findings.

The committee found that two types of medical research may conceivably need chimpanzees going forward. In the first, researchers were divided as to whether research on a hepatitis C vaccine might require chimpanzees. The committee also concluded that, while other ways to conduct monoclonal antibody research exist, those techniques are not widespread and so existing chimpanzee research in this area should be allowed to continue.

All other invasive biomedical research on chimpanzees will only be allowed if there are no other ways to do so in other animals or in vitro experiments, and if not doing so would significantly slow the progress towards treatments for life-threatening or debilitating diseases, the guidelines stated. Behavioral research can only be done if it minimizes pain and distress to the animals and provides “otherwise unattainable insight into comparative genomics, normal and abnormal behavior, mental health, emotion or cognition,” the recommendations said.

The findings only apply to the 612 chimpanzees owned or financed by the government. There are an additional 325 chimpanzees in research facilities around the country. Not all of these chimpanzees are in research studies at one time.

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Comments

Avatar of: ggallup

ggallup

Posts: 3

December 16, 2011

Contrary to what the opponents of chimpanzee research might conclude,
this may actually work to the disadvantage of chimpanzees in the long
run.  As their natural habitat further diminishes and disappears,
increasingly their survival will depend upon being maintained in
captivity.  A strange irony, but I’m afraid it’s true.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 16, 2011

Contrary to what the opponents of chimpanzee research might conclude,
this may actually work to the disadvantage of chimpanzees in the long
run.  As their natural habitat further diminishes and disappears,
increasingly their survival will depend upon being maintained in
captivity.  A strange irony, but I’m afraid it’s true.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 16, 2011

Contrary to what the opponents of chimpanzee research might conclude,
this may actually work to the disadvantage of chimpanzees in the long
run.  As their natural habitat further diminishes and disappears,
increasingly their survival will depend upon being maintained in
captivity.  A strange irony, but I’m afraid it’s true.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 19, 2011

Being maintained in captivity to ensure survival of the species does not equal using this species in medical research.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

December 19, 2011

Being maintained in captivity to ensure survival of the species does not equal using this species in medical research.

Avatar of: JackM2012

JackM2012

Posts: 1

December 19, 2011

Being maintained in captivity to ensure survival of the species does not equal using this species in medical research.

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