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Primate experiments scrutinised

Primate experiments scrutinised

Andrew Knight PhD, CertAW, MRCVS, FOCAE

Last year, British scientists conducted scientific procedures on more than 2,600 monkeys. Invasive research on non-human primates (NHPs) is rendered particularly ethically problematic by their advanced cognitive, social and related abilities. It is also particularly expensive. Accordingly, in 2006 a UK working group recommended that the major organisations funding such research should undertake a systematic review of its outcomes.

In July 2011, the subsequent Review of Research Using Non-Human Primates was publicly released. It was commissioned by major funders of such NHP research in the UK and examined all such all NHP research funded by these organisations from 1997 to 2006 inclusive.

The Review Panel considered the scientific importance of each research project, the probability of medical and public benefit, and the likelihood of animal suffering. They asserted that in many cases the use of NHPs was justifiable, but were concerned about approximately 9% of research programmes from which no clear scientific, medical or social benefit had emerged. However, for three important reasons the proportion of cases that were ethically justifiable was probably far lower than 91%. -- more: http://www.animalexperiments.info/news.html

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