After we crunched the numbers to discover that the use of primates for medical experiments has reached an all time-high, Science Magazine did a great feature on this problem, which hits newsstands in print form next week.
After all, 70% of Americans oppose trapping non-human primates in medical experiments – a record high as of 2018.
This finding contradicts what NIH has been assuring Congress
NIH knows full well that Americans don’t support the cruel use of primates in medical experiments. As such, NIH has repeatedly reassured Congress that they are working to reduce the number of primates in medical experiments and are funding alternatives to do so.
The widely accepted ethical principle for reforming institutions that abuse animals in experiments are known as the “3 Rs”. The first is Replace (use non-animal methods), the second is Reduce (use fewer animals, over time), and Refine (adjust animal experiments to make them less painful and distressing).
Congress eventually wrote the “3 Rs” directly into the Animal Welfare Act. The three Rs are federal policy for biomedical research and toxicity testing. And when Congress made the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), that legislation establishes the 3 Rs as core to what ICCVAMs are supposed to be working toward. NIH hasn’t just failed to achieve a reduction; The numbers Congress wants lower are rising instead.
Given the sheer number of assurances Members of Congress have received from NIH about how they’re sincerely working toward reductions in animal numbers, this will not be welcome news to the Members of Congress that set NIH’s budget, and who have repeatedly warned NIH to take their reduction mandate more seriously.
The good news (for cats and dogs)
As the Science article notes, there is good news for cats and dogs: NIH has made great progress over the last decade in reducing the number of experiments using these two species. Now we need that same effort made for primates, our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, whose capacity for pain and suffering is just like our own, and who are suffering tremendously in lab basements around the country.
Science Magazine has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. So we’re delighted they ran this piece, so that their impressive and well-credentialed audience can help us achieve what Americans want: an end to the pain, suffering, and distress inherent to the use of primates in medical testing.
You can read more about the record number of primates used in experiments on this page. At the same time we reveal how Americans feel about animal testing.