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Chimps May Face More Cruel Testing

September 15, 2010

From Care2
By Mac McDaniel

The government is poised to resume invasive testing on chimpanzees at the same time as congress is considering a bill to phase out testing on apes entirely.

Just under 200 chimpanzees are currently residing at an Air Force base in New Mexico. They were relocated there when the research facility they were formerly housed in went bankrupt. They’ve been on a ten year hiatus from being subjected to cruel medical tests and research, but now the federal government wants to relocate them and begin testing on them again.

This comes at the same time as the senate is debating a law which would not only phase out all invasive procedures on great apes, but would also release all federally-owned chimps into animal sanctuaries.

The logic used to justify the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in laboratories usually revolves around the argument that animals are so different from humans, and humans are so much more important, that their suffering is justified because it supposedly benefits us.

There are many problems with this argument. Firstly, it relies on the premise that human life is so intrinsically superior to animal life that any suffering on the part of animals is justified by the end result’s benefit to us. That premise is inherently flawed because there is no moral standard by which humans can be judged superior to animals.

Secondly, the more like us the animals become, the more conflicted that logic becomes. We justify our treatment of mice and rabbits by citing their lack of intellect, their lack of cognitive complexity.

When scientists try to justify treatment of the great apes, however, it is by virtue of being more like us that they become so important for testing purposes. Scientists arguing for the relocation of and renewed testing on the apes in New Mexico cite the fact that chimpanzees share over 94% of our genes.

And on top of all of the moral inconsistencies, there is the overriding fact that animal testing is an inherently flawed method of gaining medical knowledge. Animals who share between 94% and 98% of our genes still do not contract diseases in the same way as we do. If we can’t draw meaningful conclusions from chimps, what do we hope to learn from mice and rabbits?

The apes at the base in New Mexico are part of a colony that has been under government control since the ’50s. They were tested on by NASA, then transferred to the custody of a doctor Coulston who kept them in cramped cages, killed nearly 50 of his test subjects, and violated the Animal Welfare Act time and time again.

After that, many of the apes were transferred to sanctuaries. The remaining apes are now awaiting their fate.

It’s time to take a first step toward ending all animal testing. These chimps have been through more than enough for the sake of our “research” and it is time to allow them to retire.

Boycott companies that test on animals and act now to help pass the Great Ape Protection Act.  But don’t stop there. Call your representatives and urge them to support the Great Ape Protection Act, as well as all other laws that outlaw testing on animals.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. elitsa krusteva permalink
    September 15, 2010 3:23 pm



  2. September 16, 2010 5:48 pm

    Leave these poor monkys alone . we dont want no more animals suffering its just pure evil go get a real job like saving them insted of killing them .


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