It is argued that primates should be used in research because of their similarities to us. However these similarities, including their complex emotional and social behaviour and high intelligence, are precisely the reason primates should NOT be used in experiments. In laboratories where they are confined alone in small barren cages primates experience terrible loneliness, depression, acute fear and stress. To subject our most closely related species to extreme psychological and physical suffering in laboratories is, in our view, totally unjustifiable from a moral standpoint.
Using primates is also scientifically unsound. Significant physiological differences between us and primates have shown primates to be unreliable models for ourselves as their bodies react differently to drugs, infection and disease. For instance, chimpanzees can carry HIV but never develop full blown AIDS. Additionally, Stress is known to alter the way all animals metabolise and respond to chemicals. Primates are very sensitive and prone to stress in laboratory conditions. The stress factor affects test results and makes them unreliable.
Around 10,000 primates are used every year for scientific experiments in the European Union (EU) in experiments for shock, drug addiction, neurological disease, psychology experiments, vaccine and drug/pharmaceutical testing, maternal deprivation and reproduction, aging and nutrition/food restriction studies and many more types of research.
There are currently no primates in Irish laboratories and the Department of Health, who license animal experiments in this country, state that “it is the practice in Ireland not to license an experiment involving the use of primates”.
However, primate experiments are not prohibited by law. It is possible that the ‘practice’ of the Department of Health could be changed in the future to allow these experiments.
Our concern is that the Department of Health’s Code of Conduct leaves the door open for primates to be allowed back into Irish laboratories if a large multinational animal testing company or university requests to use primates.
The IAVS calls on the Irish Government to enact legislation immediately to ensure that PRIMATES WILL NEVER AGAIN BE USED OR BRED IN IRELAND FOR EXPERIMENTS.
PLEASE HELP BY WRITING POLITE LETTERS TO
Leo Varadkar, The Minister for Health, Department of Health, Hawkins House, Dublin 2
Download Primate Petition here & help us collect signatures