Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

The NAVS is highly sceptical about new primate study

Posted: 25 May 2005

23rd March 2005: The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is highly sceptical about the announcement that the Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, Royal Society and Wellcome Trust have launched a study into the use of non-human primates in research.

The study is being overseen by bodies that have previously been outspoken proponents of experiments on primates. There is no representation for the view that techniques that do not involve the use of animals should be favoured over animal experiments. The body is dominated by those holding a similar view.

There is no justification for the use of non-human primates in research; there are crucial species differences between humans and other primates, often leading to misleading test results.

Animal experiments are flawed on several grounds: Each species responds differently to chemicals or surgical interventions; artificial disease created in the laboratory does not replicate the spontaneous disease in humans, and the stress of being in a laboratory and used in experiments causes biochemical changes in animals which can affect the outcome of the experiment.

For example, animal models of Alzheimer’s do not develop the characteristic ‘neurofibrillary tangles’ or show significant nervous system degeneration.

The leading edge of science is in the area of scientifically advanced non-animal techniques; these avoid the problem of species differences, and also work at the cellular and molecular level, which is where research needs to progress.

Non-human primates, despite their evolutionary closeness to us, are distinct from us in the way they express genes in the brain. There are even big differences in gene expression between humans and chimps, although gene expression between chimps and other non-human primates is similar.

There is considerable public concern about the use of animals in research, particularly the use of primates, due to their closeness to humans in terms of intelligence, expression of feelings, developed social structures, forms of communication, and use of tools.

The NAVS is currently funding neuroscience research, studying people.


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