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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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The use of non-human primates in laboratories

Recent reports about non-human primates include: a mandrill monkey filmed making a tool to clean its toenails; a study demonstrated that chimpanzees used in research show signs of mood and anxiety disorders similar to humans who have undergone torture; a light-hearted news item showed a macaque taking self portraits with a 'borrowed' camera.


FRAME is deeply concerned about the use of non-human primates in research because their sentience and social nature means that the costs to them of experimentation and captivity are very high.


PosterThe latest Home Office statistics showed that, while the actual number of monkeys used in UK laboratories had gone down, the number of procedures they had undergone went up by 78 per cent.


The use of laboratory primates is contentious. Debates are often very polarised with no obvious way of reaching a comprise and FRAME is researching the question in order to identify ways to reduce the number of monkeys used in experiments.


A PhD project is being carried out to examine how research scientists view the use of primates in biomedical science and investigate the feasibility of phasing it out. An appraisal of the scientific evidence provided both in interviews and journals is being conducted and the findings will be integrated in order to assess the implications for scientific practice.


The work is concentrated on primate use in schistosomiasis vaccine development and Parkinson's Disease research. It is believed that this is the first study of its kind to approach the question of whether primates can be eliminated from biomedical science in the future.


Click the poster image to find out more.


Archived August 16 2011