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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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The Use of Live Apes in Research in the Twenty-first Century

Joakim Hagelin

A literature-based survey was conducted on the use of live apes in research between 2000 and 2003. The 599 studies identified and considered were grouped according to area of research, taxonomy and geographic location of the work. The results suggested that behaviour/cognition, conservation and various applications related to virology (most notably, hepatitis and HIV) were the most frequent areas of research. Of the studies, 73% were classified as non-invasive, whereas 27% were classified as invasive. Among the invasive studies, 39% were scored as of mild severity, and 61% were scored as of moderate/substantial severity. Pan species were involved in 65% of the studies, Gorilla species in 15%, Pongo species in 12%, and Hylobates species in 8%. Most of the invasive research was conducted in the USA (60%). The majority of the non-invasive research was conducted in the USA (31%), Japan (13%), or in the animals’ natural habitats in Africa (35%) and Asia (8%).