Life On Earth
Most Chimpanzee Tests No Longer Necessary
On December 15th, the US Institute of Medicine releases a report that suggests most biochemical tests performed on chimpanzees are unnecessary because of how far biochemical technology has advanced. The report acknowledges the chimps' important past role as test subjects for various medicines, but states that they are simply not necessary anymore. According to the study, the best alternatives for chimpanzee research are vitro techniques and the mouse model. The IOM heavily endorses those models and has advised one of the major funding entities of chimpanzee research to promote their use as an alternative to chimpanzees.
The National Institute of Health, which provides funding for experiments involving chimpanzees, took note of the report and is now undergoing some changes bases on the findings. They have stopped processing grant applications until further notice. They will still review the applications already submitted, but no money will be sent out until the project is approved by a soon-to-be-formed inspection committee. Projects already being funded will stay that way until this new panel can assess them.
The IOM never proposed fully doing away with chimp research, instead recommending the NIH to only fund the projects that are of vital importance and with no alternative.
Obviously, this news has been well received by various animal welfare advocates, including PETA themselves. Here is their blog post expressing massive approval.
Written by: Denis ivanov
Source: Scientific American
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