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NIH Restricts Use of Chimpanzees in Labs

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-more-monkey-business dept.

Medicine 119

vikingpower writes "The U.S. National Institutes of Health on Thursday suspended all new grants for biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees and accepted the first uniform criteria for assessing the necessity of such research (full report here). Those guidelines require that the research be necessary for human health, and that there be no other way to accomplish it. A San Francisco Chronicle article points out why chimpanzees are so often used for medical research, as they are evolutionarily the closest to human beings. One may wonder if Europe and Asia are to follow the U.S.?"

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substitute? (5, Funny)

AntEater (16627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396632)

I guess they'll have to go back to using grad students.

Re:substitute? (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396642)

Where's my "-1, Depressing" mod option at?

Re:substitute? (5, Funny)

EvilSpudBoy (1159091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396664)

The research will suffer becuase grad students aren't as evolutionarily close to human beings as chimpanzees.

Re:substitute? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397468)

True. Most grad students are far more intelligent than the average human being.

Re:substitute? (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400566)

You could try business majors.

Re:substitute? (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402066)

Well-played, sir. Well-played.

Re:substitute? (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396716)

Actually humans are used in medical research all the time. Such experiments are called "clinical trials." I'm not a biologist but I would imagine the set of experiments where one cannot use rodents and which are too dangerous for human trials would be relatively small.

Re:substitute? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402698)

I'm not a biologist but I would imagine the set of experiments where one cannot use rodents and which are too dangerous for human trials would be relatively small.

How could you reliably know that the drug was not too dangerous for human trials without trying it on animals first? However since trials for human health where there is no suitable alternative still get funding it seems that the balance is acceptable although it seems a little dangerous that they are going to start putting relative values on animal life. For example why is an orang-utan apparently less important than a chimp? At what threshold is the risk to a human being (assuming that an alternative animal is less likely to catch a drug complication) makes it worth risking chimp for?

Re:substitute? (3, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396770)

Planet of the Grad Students.

Ruled by Mr. Zaius BS.

Re:substitute? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397498)

Or Gitmo detainees, considering they dont' have any rights anymore...

Re:substitute? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399816)

I guess they'll have to go back to using grad students.

I would normally get offended at this, but since I just passed my thesis defense not an hour ago, I am technically no longer a grad student.

Re:substitute? (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400588)

Congratulations.

Re:substitute? (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401080)

I was going to suggest Lawyers. They're nearly identical to Humans, save for their moral and ethical senses, and no-one will complain about mistreating them.

Re:substitute? (1)

nedwidek (98930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401582)

The problem there is that you generally need to euthanize the animal after the experiment. With lawyers it'll be too much fun and the researches will too often do it before the experiment is over.

New world apes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396646)

We are actually following the EU on this.

Re:New world apes (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398938)

Shh! Don't point out things like that. America likes to make a big deal about how enlightened it is, even if it's doing it years, sometimes decades, after everyone else has already done it. "We totally abolished slavery!" (30 years after the rest of the Western World).

I'm sure in 50-100 years time there'll be loud pronouncements about this awesome new 'metric' system America has adopted, followed by slack jawed yokels wondering aloud when the rest of the world will catch up with the United States' pioneering conception.

Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396648)

One may wonder if Europe and Asia are to follow the U.S.?

Does the US necessarily follow Europe or Asia on other pertinent matters affecting the world? If the answer to that question is "yes" then those entities will follow the US, otherwise it's wishful thinking.

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396722)

One may wonder if Europe and Asia are to follow the U.S.?

In Europe, medical tests on apes (Chimpansees, Gorillas, Oerang utans and one other race whose name eludes me at the moment) are already illegal and have been for a few years (even longer in certain member states). Fairly serious restrictions also apply to tests involving other primates.

An article from The Independent 2 years ago announcing the official legislation
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/new-eu-rules-on-animal-testing-ban-use-of-apes-2077443.html

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (1)

Luthwyhn (527835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397286)

The one you're looking for is probably Gibbons, the family of Lesser Apes... though it could be the Bonobo, the other species in the Pan genus with Chimps which most people don't know exists.

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397936)

Yes, Bonobo was the one i was thinking off, compared to the other great apes they appear to be pretty much forgotten (the other 3 all seem to get a ton more attention in zoo's, studies and in the media).

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398018)

That is because the Bonobo are not visually distinguishable from chimpanzees by non experts, and even experts didn't realize they were different for many many decades.

You misunderstood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397770)

They were asking, now that unnecessary experiments on chimps will end, whether unnecessary experimentation on Europeans and Asians should also be stopped.

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398476)

http://www.barang-antik-antik.blogspot.com

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398852)

In Europe, medical tests on apes are already illegal

stupid, i say, even if it is extinct species, better let ape/rodent die from skin cancer than human

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (1)

pburghdoom (1892490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399716)

Its just a guess, but I think you will have a hard time doing experiments on extinct species

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400604)

And good luck getting many in Asia to respect animal rights.

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (1)

EvDigg (2530968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400698)

According to the Humane Society, the United States and Gabon are the only two countries in the world that still test on Chimpanzees. The paper I'm looking at was from 2007, so the official legislation prohibiting it you mention from 2 years ago may have been pretty easily passed if no one was using them for testing in the EU at that time anyway. http://altweb.jhsph.edu/bin/g/c/paper111.pdf [jhsph.edu]

Re:Why should Europe or Asia follow the US? (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397104)

In germany at least (I did not check other EU states) experiments on human like apes (chimps, gorrilas etc.) are forbidden anyway. For all other apes exist reguations and restrictions ...

Observation vs experimentation (1, Insightful)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396656)

With any luck, at some point we'll have good enough simulated models to more accurately represent humans biomedically than chimps do. I doubt that we'll be able to do that with behavioral research. So how can we do effective behavioral research, if we can't use humans or similar non-humans? Are we required to exclusively use gathered, instead of experimental, data in the future?

Re:Observation vs experimentation (2)

tburkhol (121842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397280)

The director's comments, and the findings of the advisory panel, make clear that NIH will continue to support work that can only be done in chimpanzees: monoclonal antibody therapies, research on comparative genomics, and non-invasive studies of social and behavioral factors that affect the development, prevention, or treatment of disease. Generally all non- or minimally-invasive work. The moratorium on all chimpanzee grants is only to give NIH time to develop processes for making sure grants comply with those restrictions.

Re:Observation vs experimentation (3, Insightful)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397408)

It's not a total prohibition. It's a new requirement that you must show that the usage of pan troglodytes and possibly pan paniscus (common chimp and bonobo respectively), is required for the research and that there is no other alternative. You must also show that the research is valuable and worth the cost (in addition to the grants own merits). You currently already need IRB approval/exemptions for human subject research (and animal trials for that matter), but this is to make sure you really need a chimp for your research when another model might work (many IRBs wouldn't make this a requirement for the research - they'd worry more about the treatment, conditions, etc... along the way).

Furthermore, this is the NIH which funds research grants, and not the FDA which approves preclinical trials on animal subjects (they aren't clinical trials until you use humans) for new drugs and medical devices. There's still plenty of chances for chimps to get experimented on and sacrificed for R&D. These new rules should just tighten up how often people pick chimps as a model. Not that expense, care, attachment, PR, and other factors haven't already moved the ball along. This'll have more impact on the focused-to-oblivion researcher who wanted to test his thingy on something as close to human as he could, not worrying about any of the above factors because he's got his grant and that lets him keep ignoring the rest of the world.

It makes perfect sense (3, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396684)

Look at all the trouble those super smart rats caused. It's probably not a good idea to be doing that stuff with something that starts out even smarter, like a chimp.

Wait. Is NIH different from NIMH?

Re:It makes perfect sense (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397748)

Yes, very different indeed.

NIH is a serious problem affecting engineers and scientists of all stripes. Chimps simply were not created by researchers, thus they don't know exactly how to improve them to have lasers coming out of their foreheads. So scientists will endeavor for about a year or so to create their own intelligent primate from the ground up. It will basically look and act mostly the same with a few odd quirks like an extra nose or ear somewhere, but they'll have created it so they'll brag more about it and put it on their resume.

I guess they saw the movie (3, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396710)

... the most recent remake of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes might be enough to make them rethink things a little...

Re:I guess they saw the movie (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396810)

Absolutely. The pacing needed some work and the script lacked somewhat. What were we talking about again?

Re:I guess they saw the movie (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396824)

Hollywood is allowed way too much influence over people's lives - from the spawning of whores and hippies to fear mongering and over regulating scientific research, we should follow their sentiment and help stop nuclear proliferation by launching a couple at them.

Damn dirty apes! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396712)

Perhaps they should experiment on anonymous cowards instead! Oh shi...!

The real reason (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396714)

They have just seen the new Planet of Apes.

Third worst thing I've ever seen... (1)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396758)

Was a university's primate research laboratory. They were doing studies on addiction. So you had these metal cages, not much bigger than the monkeys, just stacked together in a room.

Re:Third worst thing I've ever seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38397086)

Here's an idea. Rearrange the cages so that they're directly in front of the door on either side lengthwise. This forces the professor to walk though the gauntlet corridor of poo flinging madness just to reach the other side of the room. Which by the way contains a table with his missing car keys laying on top.

Re:Third worst thing I've ever seen... (4, Insightful)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397208)

Here's an idea - if you're going to shit on scientists for using animal testing for research, maybe next time you go to the hospital for a procedure you can decline anything that is the result of animal testing. Which, by the way, is practically all of modern medicine.

I have a couple friends who worked in some of these labs. They said that you very quickly:

1) Felt sorry for the monkeys, because it is a pretty awful life.
and
2) Hated the fuckers, because they are meanest, nastiest things on the planet. They'll try to lure you to the cage then bite your arm off, if they could. Not that they don't have reason.

They also said that they have to do any transfers of animals in the middle of the night because of death threats by animal rights activists.

All that said, I have no problem with having to ethically justify testing on apes as a last resort, not something that you can just do whatever the hell you want to. I just hope these regulations actually do that, instead of just being another weird hoop to jump through.

Re:Third worst thing I've ever seen... (4, Insightful)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400826)

So your friends hated the monkeys because they got aggressive when locked in a tiny box and tortured for reasons they don't understand? Imagine that. You can't reasonably imply that anyone using anything which is a product of animal testing is a hypocrite, because it is far too ingrained in society to be avoidable. That'd be like saying anyone who ethically opposes slavery or stealing from native Americans should leave North America, because so much of what we have is a direct result of the advantages those practices gave us. The point is that this is 2011 and we have more modern methods for many things which don't require testing on animals. When alternatives exist, it's unethical to not use them. That's what the NIH themselves are saying, and they're not exactly a bleeding-heart animal welfare society.

Re:Third worst thing I've ever seen... (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402360)

They also said that they have to do any transfers of animals in the middle of the night because of death threats by animal rights activists.

Back in college I applied to be a caretaker for the medical school's animal testing facility. It was an unlabeled building, tall but very narrow, surrounded on three sides, unmarked on the campus maps, and unlabeled except for an abstract logo based on a non-obvious acronym. To enter there were double keycarded doors on the outside, no lobby or anything. There were plenty of windows, but they all revealed only office space (unused, come to think of it, despite it being a weekday morning). Apparently the building is mostly underground, where they house a decent sized stable to test on livestock (among other animals, I'm not privy to the extent of the research performed).

I kept looking for an Umbrella logo, but didn't see any. It's a sad world in which scientists have to take such precautions. The only reason I found out about the facility was because I was pre-med and an upper level biology major. Apparently the sheep or goats or whatever with artificial hearts needed 24 hour sitters to alert the medical staff if something went amiss.

Unfair (1, Funny)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396776)

Look, I have disagreements with Tea Party supporters too .. but to outright ban them from labs? That doesn't seem right to me.

Re:Unfair (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396886)

Look, I have disagreements with Tea Party supporters too .. but to outright ban them from labs? That doesn't seem right to me.

Non sequitur. NIH banned the use of evolutionary closer relatives of humans, didn't say anything about lower species.

Re:Unfair (0)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397970)

Unfortunately, lower species tend to be much more difficult to care for properly. They're quite happy to sit in their own filth until communicable diseases break out. Then we have to use force to go in and clean their cages.

Now, maybe if we split the OWS protesters into even smaller groups ....

Re:Unfair (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398692)

Unfortunately, lower species tend to be much more difficult to care for properly. They're quite happy to sit in their own filth until communicable diseases break out. Then we have to use force to go in and clean their cages.

Now, maybe if we split the OWS protesters into even smaller groups ....

What... aren't the fences [artinfo.com] getting too expensive already? Or is the population in the cages [wikipedia.org] not significant enough (for the OWS to spreads [sfbayview.com] inside them cages)?

(when will the "humans" learn to tackle the causes instead of band-aiding the symptoms? After all, both TP and OWS "lower species" seems to have some common grievances [washingtonsblog.com] , even if they don't quite agree on the solutions. Based on the visible progress, looks like the "govt humans" care more about chimps)

Extremely good decision !!! (0)

yvesdandoy (44789) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396800)

Chimpanzee (and a lot of other species) have already paid an extremely heavy tribute to (often very contestable) "science" ... it is about time to put a break on it worldwide !!!

Re:Extremely good decision !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38399094)

while i agree that we should do it only when necessary (as in when alternative would be testing on human volunteer's - students for example), I would still like apes and other animals to continue "paying tribute" in this regard instead of humans (in a way take unfair advantage of them), for example good way to decide should we use apes is "would humans be next test subjects if we did not use these apes", i know i am selfish but i still think life of human being - whoever that is is more valuable than life of animal (even if it is extinct)

Bigger and better... (1)

Kinthelt (96845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396802)

No more chimps. :(

Time to start doing more experiments on bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans.

Progress (1)

nman64 (912054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396838)

Good, I'm sick of cleaning up those heaps of dead monkeys.

Farnsworth: Well, as a man enters his 18th decade, he thinks back on the mistakes he's made in life.
Amy: Like the heaps of dead monkeys?
Farnsworth: Science cannot move forward without heaps! No, what I regret is the youth I wasted playing it safe.

Re:Progress (1)

nman64 (912054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396868)

And yes, I know chimpanzees != monkeys.

Cosmetic Testing (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396850)

Before [laughparty.com] the ban and after [gstatic.com] .

Cannon fodder for our Overlords (1, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396878)

Unfortunately vivisection is an industry; and like all industries it is trying to grow; which means spending lots and lots on positive PR(*) and excusing every experiment; however marginal it's benefit.

As with War and our Economic Slavery; Greed and the Desire to profit at the expense of others know no bounds.

(*) Hi Guys! Welcome to slashdot with your preprepared accounts; this is where you earn your PR dollar at the expense of us dumb animals.

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (1)

scourfish (573542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397392)

Could I get a clear definition of what animal rights activists mean when they define "vivisection?"

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397950)

A dictionary will give you a good definition too; and rather less manipulated by either side.
eg: merriam-webster [merriam-webster.com]

I certainly intended it in the 'broad' sense of: causing harm to animals in a scientific context.

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (0)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399100)

Who cares? Yes, we should be as humane as reasonably possible -- there's no point in cruelty for its own sake -- but any experiment with even a marginal benefit that requires a living test subject is more important than an animal. Obviously there's no need to discover the terminal velocity of live chimps, assuming somebody hasn't already done that, but when the choice is between the well being of an animal versus a person? People win, animals lose.

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (0)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400052)

First, you should look up 'humane', because we're rarely humane to other animals. By definition.

The choice is never 'animal vs person', we're simply creating a dichotomy. If we'd put our energy into developing animal-free testing methods, surely we'd already be at a point where we'd never consider using them for experiments.

Please don't forget that animal testing has led to a lot of grief, with drugs either being withheld because of negative reactions in other animals, but were fine in us [penicillin), or any number of drugs that were fine in other animals, but very dangerous to humans - the list is huge. Hell, look at something as simple and common as chocolate, which is fine for humans, but will kill many of the animals around us.

The case for testing on other animals is weak at best, and there are a lot of other options that are much more reliable. Unfortunately, the $$ behind them isn't a centuries-old industry (animal breeding).

Let's just move on from this, and use the methods that are humane, and get us useful results.

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400984)

Fine, by humane, I mean don't take steps to deliberately or negligently lower the quality of life of the animals outside of what's required by the experiment. Don't make them sleep in their own shit unless the experiment necessarily requires it (which is unlikely). So yes, humane probably isn't the right word for that, but we don't seem to have an appropriate alternative that I'm aware of.

It may be a dichotomy, but it's not a false dichotomy, if that's what you're implying. The only way to find out the effect of a given treatment is to test it on humans, and the only way to do that ethically is if you are reasonably sure it won't cause more harm than benefit, and you find that out by testing on animals.

Saying we should put our energy into developing animal-free testing is like saying "if we put enough effort into coming up with faster processors, we wouldn't need these slow ones." You can't develop animal-free testing methods unless you know everything about organic chemistry in the first place, and if you know that then there's no point in testing because *you'd already have the answers*. Animal testing isn't used because it's lazy, it's used because it's necessary. And the fact that it's imperfect in the ways you describe does not mean that better alternatives magically exist. If they existed, we'd be using them, because they'd be better.

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402630)

Hi there,

Appreciate that you understand that this can by no means be 'humane', few seem to grasp this and really misuse the term...

I don't think you understood my point: testing on other animals is by no means a way to assure ourselves that it will be safe or dangerous in humans. Again, it's as simple as penicillin or chocolate - which kills many animals but is harmless or helpful in us humans. If we were to rely on animal studies for these, we'd not see them in the market. It's no different for any other food or drug. There is such a wide variance in tolerances between species that when you scratch the surface, it's very unreliable. All the knowledge we gain is that x compound is harmful or dangerous to y species - it does not transfer to humans.

As for alternatives, there already are options - human skin and other tissue mediums, computer models, etc.. They are objectively more reliable, and yes, they exist. They've still got a ways to go, but it's the reliance on animal testing that is hindering this - and that is what i mean. Time and energy and money continues to be funnelled into inferior animal models, when it could be used to advance human models. It's not like we've an unlimited amount of time and money. It's been primarily focused on the animal model (with energy going towards genetic research and breeding), and of course all the testing of these breeds to 'ensure' lab quality. If this had been focused on non-animal methods, we'd be a lot further along in these areas. There's big money in animal breeding. Not so much in human cell manufacturing and computational models...

On a side note, pretty choked that i'm getting modded down from a 1. Perhaps my views (as a vegan) are unpopular and against the status quo, but i don't think they're ignorant or deserve to be modded down (which i understand is generally frowned up - "mod up"!). This is the second post in a row for me that i've seen this... : \

Re:Cannon fodder for our Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402034)

Human medical testing is rarely humane. What is 'informed consent' really? Models are not the same as experiments, it's that same distinction between 'theory' and 'practice'. We can't just simulate stuff and pretend it's the real world. The real world is vastly more complex than simulations; we can't even model protein folding easily and that's a tiny part of human biology -- and furthermore one that lends itself to computation 'easily'. What exactly are you proposing?

ok i'll say it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38396946)

Why not use black people? They're even closer to humans than chimps.

The guidelines are no clear (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38396970)

How would you determine "no other way"?

Re:The guidelines are no clear (2)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397322)

Like this:

[3000 pages of obtuse, meaningless, but impressive-looking technical mumbo jumbo] Therefore, there is no other way.

Clearly this decision was solely influenced by (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397096)

The recent movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Fearing a similar occurrence of super-intelligent chimps that somehow would be able to over-power the human run world.

Seriously, like even a few hundred armed chimps and gorillas could handle the mass of gangs in Los Angelos. Let alone the U.S. Marines.

Thank God we had the mighty mighty Coast Guard to save us from the "Rise of the Planet of the Dolphins"

SEMPER PARATUS

Living in ivory towers (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397202)

I wonder how many people there are living in ivory towers that criticize this type of research whilst being oblivious on how many millions of lives have been saved because of it? How many drugs and other medical break troughs could only only have happened by using animal testing? What are people proposing, we go back to the days of using prisoners and societies undesirables? Do these people propose that we go without testing and hope for the best with live humans (which is really just going back to the question of who becomes the test subjects)?

/i lump such people in with global warming deniers and their like

Re:Living in ivory towers (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397316)

I mostly agree, but by the same token, the NIH is publicly funded. So, while its great to say "look how many lives saved" is great, and it wins my support, but to justify using public funding, I think you need more than that. If people have objections, those objections are legitimate as long as they are being made to contribute, even indirectly.

Also, I must note, the summary says the NIH is simply no longer funding these studies. That is distinct from banning the research. Private funding is still possible.

Re:Living in ivory towers (2)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397422)

I think you have a fair point, but is that really that much different from blocking stem cell research funding? I guess I put them both in the same category. A lot of people believe in the separation of church and state, I happen to believe in the separation of science and politics.

Re:Living in ivory towers (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399200)

But isn't that a bit of a pipe dream? I mean, you probably agree that there are ethical boundaries. Certainly, few would argue that we should be rounding up humans for testing, especially testing that would involve necropsy.

Once we agree that there should be ethical boundaries, we then have to agree on what those ethics are, and where the lines need to be drawn....

In the end, politics creeps in somewhere in there, no matter what. This is especially evident when they hold the purse strings.

Re:Living in ivory towers (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397798)

I agree with you, personally, but most people that I have found who criticize this type of research are under the impression that scientists can ultimately accomplish the same ends without actually testing it on living creatures... that they can study the effects of such things on paper and through actual experimentation, as well as computer simulation, and that those processes will reflect what goes on inside of a living body. They have mistakenly adopted the view that the differences between theory and practice are of no real significance.

Re:Living in ivory towers (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397832)

Saving lives is overrated. There's not exactly a shortage of humans on the planet. We are just animals too.

Re:Living in ivory towers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38399294)

it may be true that there is a lot of us but i would still say we/our lives are more valuable than other animals(like apes), not to mention that with correct resource management it is possible to put minimum ten times more people on this planet, so we are not overpopulating planet either (like some people brainwashed by nature preservation societies are led to believe).

Re:Living in ivory towers (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398318)

whilst being oblivious on how many millions of lives have been saved because of it

Except the summary quite clearly says, "Those guidelines require that the research be necessary for human health." So we can continue saving lives. They're not banning chimps, they're just putting conditions on their use. Seems reasonable to me.

Re:Living in ivory towers (1)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400474)

I wonder how many people there are living in ivory towers that criticize this type of research whilst being oblivious on how many millions of lives have been saved because of it? How many drugs and other medical break troughs could only only have happened by using animal testing? What are people proposing, we go back to the days of using prisoners and societies undesirables? Do these people propose that we go without testing and hope for the best with live humans (which is really just going back to the question of who becomes the test subjects)?

/i lump such people in with global warming deniers and their like

I think there are two issues with what you said:

Firstly, "this type" of research, meaning the research which will no longer receive grant money, by definition includes only the research projects which were unnecessary for human health, or have another viable avenue by which the same knowledge can be achieved. This is presumably meant to discourage the rampancy of cruel research methods currently being used simply because they're more cost effective, or because they're the status quo and the industry hasn't bothered to adapt. TFA even mentions the impetus being that "new methods and technologies developed by the biomedical community have provided alternatives to the use of chimpanzees in several areas of research", and so nothing is actually being sacrificed here.

Secondly, in what way is this at all related to denying global warming? One is an argument of ethics versus pragmatism, and the other could be framed as an argument of business versus global interests, religion versus science, or a plain lack of consensus within the scientific community (depending on who you talk to). They're complete apples and oranges, the only connection I see is that you disagree with both. Lumping every opposing viewpoint into a single, easy to villainize group is a dangerous way of thinking.

Re:Living in ivory towers (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400594)

I believe in the separation of science and politics. My point was to show something where politics gets mixed in with science.

I think perhaps a better way to get my point across is to say that I would lump them in with people who want to cut off funding for stem cell research. When science is dictated by politics science always loses.

Re:Living in ivory towers (1)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401118)

But ethics are not the same as politics. When science is not dictated by ethics all of humanity tends to lose. That's why we're having a debate on where the line should be drawn.

Even the argument to cut off funding for stem cell research is slightly different than this since that tends to be religiously motivated, rather than based on morals arrived at through rational debate. Also I don't think you should feel a need to lump anything in with anything, these are separate arguments for separate issues which are not directly analogous and so they should be evaluated individually.

For example; I support stem cell research because I have seen no compelling evidence that stem cells have an inherent value as living beings, because there is no alternative to the knowledge research on them provides, and because I have no religious affiliation that commands me to unquestioningly accept a given viewpoint on the matter.

I don't support animal testing because I have seen compelling evidence that animals have inherent value as living beings, and because there are alternatives to the cruel testing methods currently in place. Apples and oranges.

protecting his own (0)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397418)

Cheeky chimp in the WH protecting his own. Gawd forbid any of those medi-chimps be wetbakk border-jumpers cause they got special rights unknown to citizens. Give them food stamps not experimental ebola vaccine.

rats (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397500)

it's the rats you have to keep an eye on.

Asia? Seriously? (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397584)

One may wonder if Europe and Asia are to follow the U.S.

I don't know about Europe - I doubt they will - but Asia certainly won't. Asia has a terrible animal abuse record, especially in China, where all kinds of animal parts are believed to increase your virility. If you want to really feel sick for a while, check up on "bear bile farming" as an example.

Asia treats its own human population badly enough, what makes one think that they would come close to treating animals with any respect?

Great. Just great. (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397596)

Now they have to join the ranks of the unemployed. Welcome to our world.

What do you mean, Could you borrow my laptop?

Failed Ethical Argument (2, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397602)

If one makes the case that it's unethical to use Chimps as test subjects then it follows that it's unethical to use any animal as a test subject. This is exactly what the animal rights whackos want.

I don't buy the "they're too similar to people" argument. I don't care how similar to people they are, they're not people. A person's ethical concerns are limited to the realm of people. There is no valid normative theory that draws a line between primates and the rest of animals. There are the theories the animal rights people rely on - such as that anything that can 'suffer' has ethical rights - but this theory is weak for various reasons ('rights' are undefined, predators become immoral beings, keeping pets becomes slavery, etc.). This attitude is the result of pussies raised on Disney cartoons who fall in love with anthropomorphic animals and fail to distinguish them from real animals.

This is similar to pro-lifers pushing through legislation to make a certain type of abortion illegal, like the 'partial birth abortion.' Even though it's not common, especially compared to standard 'procedures' (i.e. take a pill and bleed that shit out), they can use graphic pictures to appeal to one's emotion. But the goal isn't to stop partial birth abortion, which was typically only used in medical emergencies anyway, the goal was to take a step toward stopping all abortion. Similarly, this is just a step toward banning all animal testing, which is stupid because advances in medicine rely on it. No doctor recommends a woman wait until late in her pregnancy for an abortion, but in certain cases 'partial birth abortions' were used to save women's lives. No scientist uses a chimp when he can use a rat, but in certain cases the chimp's similarities to humans is what makes them valuable test subjects.

So, given that this restriction provides an exception for the very cases in which chimps are already allowed as test subjects, how does this change anything? It doesn't, except it gives the pussy vegans a sense of moral victory and motivates them to continue their zealous quest of unreasonableness.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398158)

I don't buy the "they're too similar to people" argument. I don't care how similar to people they are, they're not people. A person's ethical concerns are limited to the realm of people. There is no valid normative theory that draws a line between primates and the rest of animals.

But doesn't this just draw the line in a slightly different place, i.e. between humans and all other animals?

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398550)

Yes, that's the point. There is a line drawn between humans and animals. A human has an ethical duty towards his fellow man but he has no such obligations to animals.

That doesn't mean that I would be justified in driving hordes of animals extinct. This would likely have a negative impact on my fellow man, which would thus make it unethical. But there is nothing unethical about killing, eating, and wearing an animal -- unless, of course, it belongs to another person and I've stolen it from them. There's actually nothing unethical about torturing an animal - it's just strange and indicative that the person may be mentally unstable (in which case it's likely that they don't understand the distinction between people and animals and would be willing to do the same to a man - so it indicates a lack of morals but the act itself isn't immoral).

What is it about a primate that elevates their ethical status above that of a bacteria? Nothing. Humans, on the other hand, are innately moral beings.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398234)

I don't buy the "they're too similar to people" argument. I don't care how similar to people they are, they're not people. A person's ethical concerns are limited to the realm of people. There is no valid normative theory that draws a line between Negroes and the rest of animals

It all depends on where you draw the line.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398400)

That's a weak argument. Blacks aren't similar to people, they are people.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399012)

So you think. Someone else (indeed a lot of people 150 years ago) would have disagreed with you.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398672)

I don't care how similar to people they are, they're not people. A person's ethical concerns are limited to the realm of people.

So if there were a neanderthal today would it be ethically relevant? If intelligent aliens showed up would you have no ethical problem hurting them? And if these are ok,how do you feel about experimenting on mentally retarded humans? Why, if at all, are any of these different?

There are ethical systems that can make the sort of distinctions that you think are't possible. For example, a utilitarian will consider the degree of suffering to any living thing and then consider how much benefit comes from the research. If the benefit exceeds the suffering that results the utilitarian will be in favor of it. Some versions of utilitarianism give more weight to more intelligent entities. In those forms, chimps are pretty smart so causing them suffering is bad. So your claim that there are no normative systems which can make this sort of distinction is false.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399138)

I said no valid normative theory. As in, a logically coherent one.

No, I would have no qualms hurting/enslaving/experimenting on intelligent aliens. I would see it as a moral necessity to assess their strengths and weaknesses so we can eliminate them if necessary. Fuck E.T., it would have been best for the government to catch him.

When it comes to neanderthals, it's unclear how they relate to us. There are various theories one way or the other. Even though I love hypothetical ethical quandaries, this one is so far detached from reality there's no reasonable way to answer it.

The mentally retarded are people and thus warrant ethical consideration.

Utilitarianism is an overall weak normative theory because one can think of many examples when X example that seems terrible can be justified under utilitarianism. I'm a Kantian, btw.

Any more questions?

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399264)

So you don't actually mean "logically coherent" but mean an ethical theory that makes you happy. Frankly, your ethical system seems pretty incoherent or inconsistently applied. If you are a Kantian do you have zero concern about what happens if every intelligent species assigns zero ethical weight to the others? Categorical imperative would at minimum say one should have ethical concern for intelligent aliens.

Re:Failed Ethical Argument (1)

ExecutorElassus (1202245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38399848)

This is an analogous situation to war crimes regarding POWs, you know. The reason there are treaties against torture isn't so much because we want to prove our moral superiority (to be pussies, to use your language regarding vegans), but because we want the moral authority to denounce our opponents in a conflict should they torture *our* soldiers. By your logic, an alien race - most assuredly technologically/socially/whatever superior to human beings, should they arrive tomorrow - would be perfectly justified morally to use and abuse humans as they see fit. The root of moral eithics is a sense of empathy. If you deny that, then you assent to your own enslavement/torture/death at the hands of whoever the bigger fish is. As for medically necessary, a lot of the US's biological weapons program, and a lot of its medical knowledge, comes from the atrocities of the Nazis in Europe, and - much more thoroughly - from the Japanese in China. You would be astonished at the amount of horror that can be explained away as "necessary for the greater good."

About f*ckin time!!! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38397822)

I say ban all animal testing, we have enough human population to test on ourselves first.
a) you will see (Major) less cruelty, as now you are doing it to a human, so you do care about treatment of that person during testing

b) you will see a lot less wasteful efforts and useless testing as now any pain causing agents will be again closely monitored to not have to repeat another
round of testing needlessly.

c) you will see the medical companies make less money off the public's back on testing new drugs as now they will have to make it proper right off the bat
  and would also require that any "bad" situations during testing be compensated for....."such as blindness"....where as animals never got such considerations
    "oops we didn't think blindness was going to happen....".....lawyer"no problem, that will be 20 million please...."

d) we will be a little more scrutinizing after each medical company says they are trying to do "this" or "that" as now the public knowing their lives
      are being tested with, will be less willing to take risks for certain medications....."do we really need another hair dye on the market that testing might lead to blindness, when we already have 1 million types out there right now...."

All in all, I favor this, not only to avoid testing on animals, but I would love to see humans put in those positions rather the animals, and see the suffering and pain caused, and felt backwards, as we never really get to see how bad humans make life for other species on this planet....sort of like taking the human element out of it, we dont care, but put the human element into it, you will see a never ending flow of concern that animals never got about the testing conditions and etc....

Re:About f*ckin time!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398326)

You know, these drugs are tested on humans in things called "clinical trials".

If you want to risk your life taking an untested -- on anything -- drug in a phase I trial, please do. But physicians won't let you play novel compound Russian roulette, as that would be unethical.

Perhaps you could show them your ethics by refusing all drugs that have ever been tested on animals (ditto for your pets). You will have a substantially shorter lifespan (as will Rex and Moggie) -- but you'll be no hypocrite in doing so.

Impressive (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398272)

NIH Restricts Use of Chimpanzees in Labs

If they can manage to invent their own chimps I say more power to them.

Another legal step up... (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38398294)

would be to grant chimpanzees the right to join the army.

Only if the research is essential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398568)

Otherwise, you get things like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_of_despair

Hopefully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398606)

Hopefully this paves the way for us to start using children instead.

research needs less primates than it used to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38398980)

I am opposed to this.

In the last several decades, improvements in chemical screening have been made. Primates are quite expensive, so it is desirable to test other organisms first. Today, it is possible to do early screening by testing of molecular simulation, liver cell extract, bacteria, then mice, before primate. Less primate testing is needed than before, but it has not been eliminated. Oh well, more bureaucracy.

I guess. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38399126)

I guess that NIH wants their congressional pork and are capitulating to a single Senator for that reason.

Chimpanzee Research Cures Human Baldness . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403322)

". . . How come monkeys are all hairy, yet they have pink arses with no hair on, whilst I'm as bald as a coot and I've got a big hairy arse? Perhaps Charles Darwin [and Chimpanzee Research] could explain that!" -- Viz

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