Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Jeremy Corbyn, MP delivers new report ‘Primate Nations’ to No.10 on International Primate Day

Posted: 8 September 2006


Jeremy Corbyn, MP today accompanies Animal Defenders International (ADI) to deliver a new cutting edge report entitled ‘Primate Nations’ to No 10 Downing Street to mark the occasion of International Primate Day.

The report is one of the most comprehensive of its kind to date and sets out the case for a ban on the use of non-human primates in experiments, covering primate intelligence, emotions, communication; laboratory experiments and species differences; and the primate trade.

The call for an end to primate research is supported by prominent public figures, researchers and animal welfare groups worldwide, including leading primatologists Dr Jane Goodall and Professor Roger Fouts.

Motions have been tabled in the European, UK and Scottish Parliaments, the House of Representatives in the US, and the Welsh Assembly.

Dr Michael Coleman, Senior Lecturer in Toxicology of Department of Pharmacy, Aston University notes: “As well as the ethical considerations, scientifically, primates are simply not close enough to us to act as good experimental models and we should be promoting replacement of animal work with human cellular systems. We must leave behind the intellectual laziness of relying on animal models and invest in human-cellular based alternatives for the future.”

Jan Creamer, ADI chief executive, said: “We don’t need to destroy primates in laboratories. Our report highlights the similarities but also the key biological differences which make primate research unreliable, such as the TGN1412 experimental drug trial which caused serious damage to human volunteers such as head swelling, after it had been given to monkeys with no side effects.

“There are over 600 species of non-human primates and 26% are in immediate danger of extinction. The laboratory supply trade is a major threat along with bushmeat and the wildlife pet trade. “In 2003, primate experiments in the UK leapt by 20% - if this is replicated globally it will mean an estimated 34,000 more experiments on primates.”

Primate Nations covers:

Primate Intelligence, Communication and Emotions:
The new ADI report refers to the differences and similarities between humans and non-human primates – the other primate nations – covering genetics, behaviour and gestures.
It makes the case that those who argue for the use of primates in research fail on two grounds – scientifically and morally.

Laboratory Use of Primates:
In this section the report discusses the latest research on primates, what the experiments are about and why such research has been heavily criticised from within the scientific community. Ten years of brain research on primates is analysed, including the researchers’ extraordinary admission that the knowledge gained could not be applied to humans due to “remarkable species differences”.

Species Differences:
Detailed analysis of the key differences between humans and other primates and explanation of the effects of these differences on scientific and medical research are given, including the TGN1412 drug trial disaster involved horrific side effects (one person dubbed by the media as the “elephant man”) despite the fact that monkeys had received doses 500 times stronger without such consequences.

Primate Supply, Transport, Conservation:
The report reveals the suffering of primates when captured and transported to laboratories and the fact that almost all of the 10,000 primates used in the EU’s laboratories are imported. Primate Nations poses questions about primate supply, breeding centres and the depletion of wild populations. For example if the 20% rise in primate experiments reported in the UK in 2003 is repeated globally, an extra 34,000 primates will be required annually.

The report discloses a huge new facility inspected by ADI this summer in Spain which is bringing macaque monkeys from Mauritius into Europe and has a capacity for 3,000 primates.

Advanced Scientific Techniques – alternatives to the use of primates:
Alternatives to the use of primates are discussed, many of which are already available, and why they are superior to animal-based methods. These range from cell and tissue cultures to micro dosing and the use of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) for analysis. Post the TGN1412 disaster, many commentators noted that micro dosing would have avoided the terrible side effects.

Key recommendations of the report are those outlined in the written declaration being tabled before the European Parliament: “.... an end to all non-human primate experiments in the revision process of Directive 86/609 EC on the use of animals in scientific procedures, specifically: to prohibit chimpanzee experiments and the use of wild-caught primates in the EU and phase out all non-human primate experiments in the EU over the next 6 years.”

Jan Creamer added: “The current EU review of Directive 86/609 on laboratory animals, which includes one of the widest public consultations ever on the issue, puts all of this into a very immediate political framework. MEPs have an opportunity to take action to protect our fellow primate nations and perhaps prevent some from extinction.”

Berlin Declaration:
In addition, over 200 animal protection groups have now signed up to the Berlin Declaration calling for an end to primate research – leading primatologists such as Jane Goodall and Professor Roger and Debbie Fouts of Central Washington University, as well as ADI, National Anti-Vivisection Society, International Primate Protection League, Jane Goodall Institute, RSPCA, Humane Society International, Eurogroup for Animal Welfare, PETA and other prominent groups.

This probably represents the greatest unanimity on an issue since the ivory ban was secured in the late 1980’s. Click here for the Berlin Declaration

Click here for more information on International Primate Day

Click here to sign up to the Berlin Declaration

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