Scientific American Calls for Ban to Chimp Testing

Paws Up!

To the editors of Scientific American, for calling for a nationwide ban on biomedical testing using chimpanzees.

In a recent article, the widely read publication Scientific American called for an end to laboratory testing using chimpanzees in the United States, and expressed its support of HR 1513, The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011. Written by “the Editors,” the article states:

Photo by Dhammika Heenpella/Flickr

“In our view, the time has come to end biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees. The Senate bill would phase out invasive research on chimps over a three-year period, giving the researchers time to implement alternatives, after which the animals would be retired to sanctuaries.”

Chimpanzees are our closest cousins; they are highly intelligent and possess complex emotions; experiencing happiness, sorrow, pain, and loneliness, among others. On top of these similarities, humans and chimps carry 99 percent of our DNA in common. It’s a terrible irony that the very things that make chimpanzees and humans so similar are what make chimps so desirable for research. Having experiments performed on them for up to 50 years of their lives, laboratory chimpanzees often develop psychological disorders similar to post-traumatic-stress disorder and depression. Such extended periods of boredom and loneliness in the cage and the prolonged suffering of the experiments themselves often lead to a behavior of self inflicted injury, such as the chimps biting themselves.

Many alternatives to animal testing exist and have been proven study after study to be every bit as effective and in many ways much more reliable than tests using animals. There is an abundance of peer-reviewed research on the successes of using cell cultures, computer models and simulations, and clinical trials involving human volunteers. Even with the incredible genetic similarity between chimps and humans, many inconsistencies and erroneous findings have occurred by testing human products on non-human animals. Laboratory experiments with chimpanzees and all other animals is an antiquated and inefficient process to use in the 21st century.

Take Action: Contact the editors of Scientific American and congratulate them on making this step forward for the protection of chimpanzees, and encourage them to extend their compassion towards ending testing on the rest of the animal kingdom as well. HR 1513, the Great Ape Protection and Savings Act, is currently under review by the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Commerce and Energy. Contact the Chair and Vice-Chair of the subcommittee to urge their adoption of this important legislation.

Mariette DiChristina
Scientific American
415 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Tele. No.: 800-333-1199

The Honorable Joe Pitts
House Subcommittee on Health
Energy and Commerce Committee
420 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Tele. No.: 202-225-2411
Email: via webform

The Honorable Michael. C. Burgess
House Subcommittee on Health
Energy and Commerce Committee
2241 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Tele. No.: 202-225-7772
Email: via webform

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