With Primate Research at an All-Time High, These Congressmen Want the FDA to Take Action

It’s the 21st century, yet somehow we’re still testing human medical theories, devices and medications on animals. It boggles the mind.

Primates in particular suffer, because they’re such close cousins to the human race. But two U.S. Congressmen, Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) want to put a stop to this cruel animal testing.

They recently wrote a bipartisan letter to the Food and Drug Administration, requesting that the agency’s Animal Welfare Council conduct a review “of all FDA primate testing and make recommendations for other areas where it can be reduced and replaced and where primates can be retired” — as has happened for primates being used for nicotine addiction research.

In January 2018, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb permanently ended the National Center for Toxicological Research’s nicotine addiction testing on primates. Those primates were retired to a Florida sanctuary.

As Rep. Boyle told VegNews:

Painful primate testing is shameful, and it has no place in the 21st century. It’s no wonder most Americans oppose it. For years, I’ve worked to reduce cruel and ineffective government primate testing, but it’s clear that federal agencies are still not doing enough to curb this appalling practice, as is required by law.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Congressional interest in this issue is welcome, because primate research is only accelerating.

In 2017, researchers used a total of 75,825 primates in some manner for biomedical investigations.

  • 44,624 were used in studies that did not involve pain
  • 30,057 were included in activities that inflicted pain, but offered drug-based pain relief
  • 1,144 experienced pain with no relief

That’s an increase of 22 percent from 2015, if you can believe it.

In addition to these numbers, an incredible 34,369 primates still sit captive in various research facilities but are not used for research.

While the scientific community pays lip service to the desire to reduce the number of primates used for medical research, these statistics demonstrate that it’s not happening. And that’s in direct conflict public opinion, as 52 percent of the American public now opposes animal research.

According to Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University’s director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, researchers “are just blindly running toward the monkey model without critically evaluating how valuable it really is.”

The National Institutes of Health released a report in September 2018 that found demand for primates like rhesus macaques, marmosets and baboons will likely rise further over the next five years. The biggest driver for this demand is research into HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease and addiction.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

The scientific community claims that animal research is necessary to develop cures, but not everyone agrees. Many scientists insist that animal studies simply are not reliable predictors of how things will work on humans.

Indeed, they argue that “animal experimentation often significantly harms humans through misleading safety studies, potential abandonment of effective therapeutics, and direction of resources away from more effective testing methods.”

There are companies working to develop non-animal testing methods that will prove more accurate — and more relevant to humans — than animal testing could ever be. These are the techniques we need to invest in and focus on.

We must direct our future scientific medical testing toward methods that emphasize reliability of application to humans, without subjecting animals to experimentation. Animal research often means next to nothing when applied to humans, making it doubly repugnant that we’re allowing it at all.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

67 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y27 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y27 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J27 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J27 days ago

thanks for sharing

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RosemaryRannes H

Thank you Susan for your article:
With Primate Research at an All-Time High, These Congressmen Want the FDA to Take Action
Ditto to:
" In January 2018, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb permanently ended the National Center for Toxicological Research’s nicotine addiction testing on primates. Those primates were retired to a Florida sanctuary.

As Rep. Boyle told VegNews:

Painful primate testing is shameful, and it has no place in the 21st century. It’s no wonder most Americans oppose it. For years, I’ve worked to reduce cruel and ineffective government primate testing, but it’s clear that federal agencies are still not doing enough to curb this appalling practice, as is required by law."
Helpless primates and other animals are tortured to death and or must live out their lives in pain and suffering as consequences of invasive testing "in the name of medical research"
My hope and prayer is that Congress, i.e. each and every member votes against Animal/Primate testing and that every facility that has and continues testing on primates and other animals be shut down permanently!
Prayers rising for all the innocents who have been harmed and caused suffering by mankind's ignorance and arrogance!

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

awful

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

th

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Danuta W
Danuta Watola3 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Janis K
Janis K3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Marija M
Marija M3 months ago

tks

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