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Critique of Chimpanzee Experiments Published

20th March 2012

Centre Fellow Dr Andrew Knight has published a response to the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity issued in December 2011.

The report concluded that most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is not warranted, but stopped short of recommending an outright ban.

The scientific journal ALTEX has just published Dr Knight’s analysis of that position. He concludes that alternatives exist for the few current research fields for which the IOM committee felt chimpanzee research might possibly be necessary, and that, in any case, the adverse welfare impacts on chimpanzees subjected to invasive research — which appeared to receive little consideration — render such research unethical.

National Institute of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins accepted the committee’s recommendations, ceasing all funding for new chimpanzee experimentation. The NIH will also review current research to determine which experiments should be stopped. Dr Collins estimated that about 37 research projects might be affected, of which perhaps half could be discontinued.

Dr Knight’s critique can be viewed here.

He is also author of The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments issued by Palgrave Macmillan as part of their book series on animal ethics published in partnership with the Oxford Centre. More information is here.