National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

U.S.A. stops breeding chimps for research

Posted: 6 December 2007


In May 2007 the National Center for Research Resources, a wing of the National Institutes of Health, announced an end to the breeding of chimps for research, a great start to our ”Get chimpanzees out of laboratories” campaign, launched in the U.S. a month earlier on World Lab Animal Day. Every country in the world, apart from the U.S. and possibly Gabon, had already taken this step for ethical, scientific or financial reasons. However, last year the European Commission began consideration of a central EU chimp lab.

In 2004, the Netherlands, the last European country conducting invasive research on chimps, called a halt. In October 2006 the last Japanese pharmaceutical company still conducting invasive research stopped, planning to retire its chimps to a sanctuary. The U.S. move brings us closer to a global end to chimpanzee experiments. In the U.S., chimps are most frequently used for hepatitis research, but other areas include HIV, behaviour, reproduction, malaria, respiratory viruses, infectious disease and drug testing. However in the light of changing policies worldwide, this research appears increasingly isolated.

Should the objectives of WD 40/2007 be achieved, then the changes in Europe, with its large chemical and pharmaceutical sector and consumer market, will surely reverberate around the world to impact the staggering 57,518 primates experimented on in the U.S. A huge challenge faces us, but there is now hope on both sides of the Atlantic.

1. Cohen, J. (2007), “The endangered lab chimp,” Science, 315, 450-452.
2. Cohen, J.(2007), “NIH to end chimp breeding for research,” Science, 316, 1265.
3. National Center for Research Resources, Chimpanzee Management Program.
4. National Center for Research Resources, Report of the Chimpanzee Management Plan Working Group.
5. Varki, A. (2007), “The uncertain future of research Chimpanzees,” Science, 315, 1493.

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