Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Proposed Rule Would Drastically Restrict Chimp Research

timothy posted about a year ago | from the drawing-certain-lines dept.

United States 134

New rules for labs that use chimpanzees as test subjects may be on the horizon. From the New York Times blog: "The Fish and Wildlife Service proposal came in response to a petition filed in 2010 by the Jane Goodall Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other groups. It would require permits for interstate commerce involving any chimpanzees, or for what the law calls 'taking,' which could be anything from harassment to major harm to something as simple as obtaining a blood sample. And those permits, Mr. Ashe said, would be granted only if the action could be shown to benefit the survival of the species. If the new rule is enacted, it will be a major success for animal welfare groups, a grave disappointment for some scientists and another sign of the profound changes over the last half-century in the way animals are used and imagined in science and popular culture." The L.A. Times lauds the proposed rule change in an editorial.

cancel ×

134 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

thank god (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44021889)

Leave the chimps alone. In fact, we should dedicate a greater share of the world to the rest of the planet's creatures, and that includes limiting the harmful effects of our pollution and industry not because of politics but simply because we have such a precious and finite resource in this jewel of the Earth and the delicate beauty of Life.

Re:thank god (2)

zoomshorts (137587) | about a year ago | (#44021943)

Replace chimp with politician and see how fast things change.

Re:thank god (2)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#44022017)

The average intelligence of the government would double?

Killing Politicians (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44022215)

Replace chimp with politician and see how fast things change.

The average intelligence of the government would double?

I have included the parent quote as I am astonished at the stupidity. I suspect everyone were is of the opinion that the problem with politicians is that whatever the politics, they are generally greedy and self serving...and they are (generally...ignoring political families) defiantly not stupid.

Ironically this is about *testing* Corporations would love nothing more than to do less...as its expensive and delays product to markets, and would love an excuse to skip killing chips...and then just pay of a few underprivileged people who have temporary permeate physical and mental damage and death.

This is about politicians protecting us with unpopular choices...until now.

I didn't read the summary (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44022235)

i don't see why we would want to hold back chimp scientists from doing their research?

Re:Killing Politicians (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022309)

It's a joke. You're supposed to laugh, not point out why it'd never work in real life.

Re:Killing Politicians (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44022319)

eh, the belief that politicians are stupid is really important to many people. People often have trouble with the idea of intelligent people doing something different from what they would do and view it as a zero sum, that there is one right answer and either the politician is stupid, or they are. The whole 'conflicting goals' thing really does not factor in to some people's world views.

Re:Killing Politicians (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022483)

So it's malice? You're arguing for killing just about every last politician the way I see it.

Re:Killing Politicians (3, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44022571)

I have trouble finding the downside to that scenario.

Re:Killing Politicians (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about a year ago | (#44023317)

Conflicting goals means the guy who disagrees with you is evil?

Stupid Politicians (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44023179)

There are two ways to measure stupidity of ones decisions. The first is to disagree with ones actions. This can be a legitimate measure if the judging party has sufficient knowledge and experience. You're right in saying that most of our media and the general public really don't qualify to do so (unfortunately). The second is to disagree with the outcome. Based on outcome, I'd say the US government is psychotic. This either means that the legislative bodies as a whole are morons, or that they are too corrupt individually and too unwieldy as a group, or it means that the key leaders are idiots.

Re:Killing Politicians (3, Insightful)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44022621)

I'm having trouble following the mostly hidden logic behind parent post. It seems to address two distinctly different issues.

With regard to politicians, they are most definitely a self-selected group of persons who are willing, and successful, at advancing their personal agendas by portraying themselves as champions of this or that group. The average amount of lying, fraud, deceit, and associated crimes of politicians is naturally going to be much higher than the average for the general population. Culling politicians would therefore improve the species. It is not about how stupid they are; it is about how their moral compass is all twisted up. So, since effective ostracism (an acceptable form of culling introduced by the Greeks) will not be possible until we have established a lunar colony, using politicians as primates in various experiments should be on the table. (There might be better solutions, but this one is worthy of considering).

WRT using chimps in testing, that is now so bogus. The automobile has replaced the horse and buggy and freed horses for their rightful place as pampered pets (there are now more horses in the USA than there were in 1899-- hoowoodathunkit?) The MRI and computer simulations are now replacing the old fashioned use of chimps in the laboratory. There is no question that sooner or later the nasty old ways of doing biological research are going to become history, just like the horse and buggy, replaced by technology that can do the job faster, better, and without exploiting some other species. The only question is when do we pass the laws that will force today's buggy whip manufacturers to find some better source of employment?

This will cause a shake-up in the research and development industry, as the employment opportunities of persons who have spent their careers developing skills in carving up the brains of primates will be out of work and unemployable. Along with a host of other specialists in supporting roles. A lot of these people are quite likely incapable of finding other work. It requires a certain kind of blockage of normal human empathy to slice and dice a chimpanzee, and without that a lot of job opportunities will be closed to these individuals with their self-inflicted damage to their psyches.

Re:thank god (1)

Brooklynoid (656617) | about a year ago | (#44023073)

Wouldn't work. Researchers usually need test subjects that resemble humans in some significant way.

Trust First Comment to be a Nutter (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44021979)

Leave the chimps alone. In fact, we should dedicate a greater share of the world to the rest of the planet's creatures, and that includes limiting the harmful effects of our pollution and industry not because of politics but simply because we have such a precious and finite resource in this jewel of the Earth and the delicate beauty of Life.

This is about infinite resource of furry beautiful creatures bred specifically for the purpose of (often) having short unpleasant painful life, for the sake of the possibility (patents permitting and money exchanged) of saving...or preventing damage to humans...Discuss.

This has nothing to do with pollution, or the misuse of the planets finite resources. Its about everything from research on dogs means diabetics today don't die, or humans don't do blind by spaying shampoo in baby rabbits eyes (the fact that the discussion is about chimps at all annoys me...as they are prettier). Its not pretty, its ugly science. The only real question is the validity of that science.

Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44022045)

> The only real question is the validity of that science.
Also the moral price of that science. The discussion is about chimps instead of rabbits because the evidence all points to chimps being almost as sapient as us, the rabbits... not so much. And sapience is pretty much the only thing we can point to when trying to claim humans are "better" than other animals. Take away that yardstick and we may as well be experimenting directly on humans.

Mixed Morality (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44022123)

Also the moral price of that science. The discussion is about chimps instead of rabbits because the evidence all points to chimps being almost as sapient as us, the rabbits... not so much

Chimps are not human...or even nearly human(sentient?). They are perhaps genetically closer to us which means they are better to test on than rabbits. Personally I would like a ban on testing fluffy rabbits...and more testing on chimps, as it seems less wasteful.

Ironically we already do trials on humans, even in progressive countries, which are done by those who have no other means of income, and with no understanding of the risks involved. I actually think that is morally wrong.

Re:Mixed Morality (2)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about a year ago | (#44022973)

No, they *are* nearly human, that is the point. And they are sentient, sapient, and self-aware

Re:Mixed Morality (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023087)

Look at the research. All evidence points to chimps being every bit as sentient (feeling, percieving, conscious, capable of experienceing subjective reality) as we are, and in almost exactly the same manner - their response to physical and social stimulus parallels ours almost perfectly. They are generally accepted as less sapient (inteligent, wise, capable of abstract thought) than us, but the difference is not as wide as you might think - roughly comparable to a 4 to 5-year old human child IIRC.

As for human trials, I absolutely agree that the subjects should be fully informed of the risks (actual understanding, not just handed a flier full of medical jargon), but after that why not? If they feel the risks are lower than the risks of not getting the money, who are we to say otherwise? In many (most?) cases the risks will still be lower than working as a garbage man (the riskiest profession in the country, with the possible exception of inner-city drug dealer).

Oh, and assuming you weren't just being a smart-ass how do you figure chimps experimentation is more efficient than rabbits? Put two rabbits in a cage and pull out as many as you need on demand. Granted the results won't always translate directly humans, but most of the time they will be pretty close, especially for acute exposure experiments.

Re:Mixed Morality (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year ago | (#44023563)

They are generally accepted as less sapient (inteligent, wise, capable of abstract thought) than us, but the difference is not as wide as you might think - roughly comparable to a 4 to 5-year old human child IIRC.

4 and 5 years old kids can talk, read, write and paint recognizable objects. Chimps cannot. They may be smart but they are not at the same level as even a 4-5 year old child.

Re:Mixed Morality (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023811)

Correction, they lack fine motor control and vocal apparatus capable of producing speech. Teach them sign language and provide incentive to learn it comparable to speech for a human child and (IIRC) they actually learn even faster than humans for the first few years of their life and then plateau off. We seem to have a lot of neural wiring specifically geared for speech - the ability to communicate complex thoughts is probably the single largest advantage we have over other apes, it allows for collaborative planning and the ability to keep knowledge alive between generations even when nobody is actively using it (one of the roles of storytelling). Certainly if we take the single area where we have a clear advatage and call it the only important one then we win hands down. It's not terribly intellectually honest though. For non-verbal intelligence such as various problem solving skills apes fair much better.

As for representative art, has anyone done experiments in which they really tried to teach apes to draw? Say having human "ringers" draw a picture of a banana and be able to trade it for a banana, etc - using art for communication? Might be interesting. At any rate I would not be at all surprised if an inclination to representative art is actually side-effect of evolving complex communication. Even children whose vocabularies are still quite limited are already developing the neural structures that will allow them to build a sophisticated symbolic model of the universe (aka language). Given the apparent massively interlinked operation of the brain it seems not unreasonable to expect that such structures could have a significant impact on aesthetic preferences. Not to mention the social pressure - what's the first thing most people say to a child who is showing off an apparently abstract picture? "That's pretty, what is it?" If it's non-representative you can see the confusion and uncertainty flood into their eyes as they try to formulate an adequate response, whereas being able to say "it's a horse" instead gets them praise, especially if it sort of looks like a horse.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (4, Interesting)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about a year ago | (#44022133)

Fuck nature.

Nature itself is one constant experiment to promote successful genes and weed out unsuccessful ones. That fear of falling from a great height you have? Millions or billions of creatures had to fall from cliffs for that. Those wonderful ocular orbs which are versatile to see in bright sunlight and very dim night light, millions or billions of creatures that could not see as well were caught and eaten by predators, too.

These experiments that scientists are doing, what maybe at most a 100 thousand creatures died in the last century for them? And what about all the people that were saved by that? The ratio of benefit vs suffering is much better from the experiments we carry out on our own, rather than the giant wasteful experiment that nature carries out.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1, Flamebait)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44022331)

The cost tends to be considered worth it when someone else (or some other group) is the one paying it.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about a year ago | (#44022817)

It seems my point went over your head. You may need some review. Ask yourself this, what was the point I was trying to make? And how does what you wrote address my point in any way?

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023135)

I have to disagree. Yes, creatures die all the time, that mutation are the key to evolution. But by your own argument why whouldn't we simply lock *you* in the cage for experimentation? The results would be far more useful than those from chimps.

You can claim to embrace a world without moral consideration, but I'm betting the instant its you being tortured on the front lines of scientific advancement you're going to start crying about fairness and justice and your rights being violated. But hey, clearly you're inferior to all the people who weren't tranquilized while walking down the street, so why should we care about your plight.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (5, Informative)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#44023311)

No, that wasn't his claim. His claim is that nature is a world without moral consideration, and we're treating chimps no worse than nature does (and far better than chimps treat others - they're vicious hunters), in a way that produces real and measurable moral good as a consequence.
 

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (2, Insightful)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44022831)

Parent post argument is at least 25 years out of date.

A lot of the research that was only possible using animals then can now be done by non-invasive means and computer simulations. The day when almost all research can be done this way is not far off. This is not because the new ways are ethically better (even though they are). It is because the new ways allow faster and more comprehensive studies at much lower total costs. It is indeed time to consider using legal ways to force the biological R & D industry to upgrade its skills.

The problem is that a lot of today's researchers have skills in applying electric shocks and scalpels to research animals that do not transfer to reading MRI scans or improving computer simulations. As a group, these persons are going to be as opposed to the inevitable changes as the wagon drivers, farriers, and livery stable owners opposed the New York City laws that began favoring automobiles and trucks. Using legalities to prod the industries they influence to evolve is not a bad thing to do.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (4, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023187)

>The day when almost all research can be done this way is not far off.

Maybe not on geologic timescales...

Sure, we'll have simulated test subjects suitable for high school and maybe even undergraduate level "experiments" before long. But we're probably a long way away from being able to simulate even the simplest animals on a molecular level, and anything short of that has limited utility to original research. Sure, if we simulate all the known chemical responses then we can get a first-order approximation of reactions to screen for any unanticipated side effects within the realm of known responses, and millions of mice and grad student hours will be saved from time-consuming preliminary experiments (presumably I can set my experiment running and come back in the morning to see in painstaking detail the possible progress of a ten-year exposure). But that won't actually tell you anything about the effect on poorly understood processes, which at present are still most of them.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44023277)

Computer simulations are a good place to start... but we're still a long way from having simulations that give great predictions. In order to model something, you must fully understand it. We don't. Any simulation we run is based upon our limited understanding, and cannot lead to new knowledge. They can help us prevent mistakes that we could have foreseen instead of discovering them through testing, but they cannot confirm that a given hypothesis has a basis in fact.

And you can't fMRI your way to predicting what a given experimental drug will do.

(I'm not advocating for animal testing, I'm just giving a reasoned counterpoint to your post.)

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44023789)

Laws that encourage rethinking the research process are a good thing right now, as it is definitely the case that a lot of unnecessary and costly research is being done on animals when it could be done better using advanced technology. A key part of the problem is that too many of today's researchers are only trained in the techniques that were made elegant 100 years ago and naturally see the increasing use of newer technology as a threat to their way of life. It is much more than a threat to their livelihood: being able to work with the same animals for weeks or months or years while maintaining the necessary emotional distance ("clinical attitude") is an abnormal trait for human beings which at the very least limits the researcher's ability to actualize all of his potential. At worst, it provides him access to a pathological defense mechanism where he becomes capable of screwing the people around by adopting a clinical attitude toward them. These persons are not the ones most capable of properly shaping the future of research departments. External direction is going to be needed for a while.

Perhaps just agitating for laws that guide research labs will be enough pressure to get things moving in an appropriate direction. But without some kind of external pressure, the necessary changes will not happen as fast as they could, and should. We would end up continuing to move into the 21st century while dragging along the baggage of 18th and 19th century research methods.

No matter how you look at that, ethically, morally, or pragmatically, that is not good.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022869)

Ah, Slashdot, where taxing the rich to pay for healthcare for the poor is unacceptable tyranny but a life of brutal pain for a hundred thousands chimp is a reasonable sacrifice for better shampoo.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44022187)

Who says we don't experiment on humans? Remember, to various groups inside humanity, many people outside the group are experimental fodder.

Consider the various religious who, at times, might view those of other religions / non-religions to lack that something special, and thus, fall short of the privileges of full citizen of whatever; however, they might still be deemed as having some value as test subjects; the same may be said from the other side, that of atheism, whereby the religious are seen are brain-damaged and incapable of simple right / wrong logic; still, they would make valuable test subjects.

On a grander scale, consider the often-times psychopathic actions of various persons or companies; a brand name company that decides to save on testing by performing only the minimum to get past the FDA, only to find their medicines promote cardiac infarctions; was this not an experiment, albeit on a grander scale? What of a generic drug company, that certified that for all intents and purposes, it has faithfully copied a brand-name drug that has fallen outside of patent protection, albeit using a new process that introduces adulterants, and thus side effects? Was this not an experiment?

What have we learned from human experimentation, except that the most powerful computers and simulations in existence are still coming up short when it comes to predicting some of the horrible outcomes of some of these candidates / lots?

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44022347)

Well, I think the point is that in developed nations we do not do the same types of involuntary experimentation on humans that we do on non-humans, and people are generally outraged when they hear about it being done in developing countries.

On another note though, you would be surprised at how good the simulations actually are. The issue often comes down to results being ignored if they do not have the political marketing behind them. Generally the decision makers what simulations that back up what they have already decided for political reasons.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | about a year ago | (#44023889)

Was this not an experiment?

No, that'd be tossed out by any journal for having horrible methodology. None of those are experiments. An experiment isn't just seeing something happening and noting the results. You need tight controls that get rid of every possible unwanted variable that can be removed.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022233)

We are better than them because we are human. Yes, I'm a die hard species-ist. How many chimps would I sacrifice to save a human life? How many you got?

So, the real question is, how many human children are you willing to sacrifice for a chimp life's, because the trade is a real one.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#44022663)

I am all for testing on animals if it is helpful (i am not making a distinction on if it is or not)

but in general, i care more about animals than people. animals dont know right from wrong, and people who abuse animals are lower than anyone except for child abusers. If i had to pick between an animal like a dog or a cat and a human that I dont know (and most that I do know) im saving the dog or cat.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022929)

By saving the dog / cat you prove that you were able to help, which makes not helping the human a crime. Maybe the fear of going to jail can give you the incentive to make the moral choice, even as a sociopath.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023227)

> which makes not helping the human a crime
No, generally speaking the law makes a clear distinction between perpetrating a crime and failing to intervene in one. The alternative would mean prosecuting every witness who failed to intervene in a crime, and suddnely you would lack any witnesses at all (or if you're cynical would require that everyone give all their wealth above subsistence level to saving the lives of those dying of poverty, which the rich would never let become law)

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about a year ago | (#44023333)

Either you're a troll or a traitor to your own kind. But no matter if the latter, we can simply apply your own view to yourself - given the choice between saving your life and the life of any random human, we must not choose you. You are too ignorant of the subtle bonds that keep human beings in any semblance of order and progress as a species to be useful and therefore are completely expendable. Fortunately for you, you live in the western world, and even at your poorest you have had insane advantages over the poor here in Africa. Every one of them, whose life is worth far more than your own pathetic broken one. The sheer ignorance and stupidity that spouts this view is not worth saving. Best let it die. Or perhaps get a sense of proportion?

Cheers.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (0)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44022887)

How many chimps would I sacrifice to save a human life?

Bullshit question. The real question these days is

How long will you put up with your neighbor committing atrocities in the name of Science when there are better (more ethical, less costly, and more accurate) ways of getting the answers?

We have a good and growing arsenal of non-invasive research tools that can be used directly on humans. They appear not to be used as often as they could be, and the most likely reason for that is that researchers who have devoted their careers to learning to use electric shock treatments and scalpels on lab animals have no skills in using MRI scanners or computer simulations. It is time to start limiting the influence the practitioners of these ancient ways have on the R & D industries. Using the law to guide these industries into the 21st century is fully appropriate.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023249)

Well, chimps are roughly equivalent to a human child of four or five on pretty much every scale but vocalization and future potential so I'd say that's a pretty Faustian bargain. Be speciest all you want, just realize that you've given up all moral standing to complain should aliens ever arrive to harvest us for our delicious organ meats.

Re:Valid science isn't the only yardstick. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | about a year ago | (#44023361)

And sapience is pretty much the only thing we can point to when trying to claim humans are "better" than other animals. Take away that yardstick and we may as well be experimenting directly on humans.

Rather telling that the same vanity is used to both support and oppose the act in question...

Re:Trust First Comment to be a Nutter (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44022059)

When it comes to the Great Apes, I think there are serious ethical questions to be raised. These animals are our closest relatives, sharing, even if in lesser degrees, many of our cognitive and psychological features. I don't think it is going too far to call them sentient, and while I realize that this very close physiological and neurological relationship to humans make them valuable as test subjects, I just can't support their continued use in such a way.

Re:Trust First Comment to be a Nutter (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#44022267)

I don't think it is going too far to call them sentient

So is sentient important or how close they are to us? Perhaps you mean both.
So if we get proof that they are NOT sentient, then we can go on using them as test subjects?

If you want to protect them, tell it how it is: they LOOK too much like us on the outside. I am sure you are well aware that pigs are also often used, because they resemble people in many ways, yet they do not look like us (and they produce bacon) so that is less problematic for many.

As long as you are aware that it is a social issue, fight your battle that way. Making it a technical one (They are sentient. They are our closest relative.) will make you vulnerable to attacks on that part that you might loose and with that your whole battle.

Re: Trust First Comment to be a Nutter (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year ago | (#44022067)

Work about morality of science?

Why, because I have a different opinion than you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022083)

Seriously, fuck off back to your limited view of the world and inability to respect that other people have differing opinions. But no, YOU have the answer because YOU have the ability to make the "tough decisions."

oooh, 666 in your nick, you a real badman tough guy.

Re:Why, because I have a different opinion than yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022529)

Learn what site you're on.

sudo chmod 660 for you :P

Re:Trust First Comment to be a Nutter (1)

dasunt (249686) | about a year ago | (#44022161)

This has nothing to do with pollution, or the misuse of the planets finite resources. Its about everything from research on dogs means diabetics today don't die, or humans don't do blind by spaying shampoo in baby rabbits eyes (the fact that the discussion is about chimps at all annoys me...as they are prettier). Its not pretty, its ugly science. The only real question is the validity of that science.

There's also the question of ethics. We have data from the Nazi human experimentation on hypothermia, and while it has provided important data on how the human body reacts to freezing, few people would say that such experimentation on human beings is ethical.

Chimps and other great-apes aren't human. But they are our nearest relatives, and mentally they do appear to be one of the smarter animals. They may be near enough to humans, cognitively, that some will consider such experimentation on great apes to be unethical.

Re:thank god (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year ago | (#44022171)

(Human) race-traitor bitch would protect EBOLA and HIV virus by the same mindset.  Bet he gets a stiffy just thinking about it!  In a kinder, gentler culture a few hundred chimps should be  ruthlessly butchered-off every year just to say ... 'this we do not do to humans ...' or suchlike. But, nooooo ... feckin-A slippery-slope just got waxed!

Already not in use (2)

54mc (897170) | about a year ago | (#44021901)

From TFA:

In fact, most of the roughly 1,000 chimps held at biomedical laboratories are not being used.

I'd be curious why this is - already too much regulation? The article goes on to say that they hope to pass them on to shelters. I'd certainly hope that's the case if they're not being utilized

Re:Already not in use (1)

intermelt (196274) | about a year ago | (#44021919)

If they aren't being utilized aren't they technically already sheltered? Would there be better conditions at a different shelter? I'd like to know what sort of daily conditions the "un-utilized" chimps have.

Re:Already not in use (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44022089)

I'd bet they are, at best, kept in a relatively sterile cage rather like a dog kennel. Shelters on the other hand tend to acknolwedge that these are animals almost as psychologically sophisticated as us and provide vegetation, recreational facilites, and usually large open-air spaces. Ask any human prisoner and I'll bet good money that they say that getting time outdoors, even in the generally bleak and barren prison yard, is a precious privilege. And while we can think a lot better than chimps our emotional framework seems to be almost identcal.

Basically, the chimps will be prisoners either way, but would you rather be the prisoner of someone who feels respect and compassion for you, or someone who's livelihood depends on torturing and dissecting you and will thus almost certainly de-humanize (for lack of a better word) you as much as posible for their own psychological well-being.

Re:Already not in use (0)

bryonak (836632) | about a year ago | (#44022429)

These chimps were bred specifically for this purpose and wouldn't exist otherwise. Being alive solely to undergo a procedure you never got the chance to even realise, let alone agree/disagree with, makes you just "material with a specific function" and is about as dehumanising as it gets.
IMO likening it to human prisoners is off the mark.

The question is whether we should be allowed to create living, feeling, intelligent beings for experimental purposes.
That this helps and saves members of our own species is well established. Few would object to holding delphins in captivity for therapeutic rehabilitation purposes, and most people don't really mind if someone is chopping up mice in order to try to cure paraplegia, hereditary diseases, HIV...
But it's a big question of ethics about what kind of "life" is deserving of what kind of "treatment", aka to draw the line (it also hurts some of our species members feelings, usually not those whose life has been saved by the results of animal research, and only if the animals in question are cute).

Re:Already not in use (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44023475)

So why not breed humans in cages for experimental research? Then they'd just be "material with a specific function" as well. Same argument. If we discovered tomorrow that humanity was actually a breeding colony created by alien researchers would that somehow reduce the value of your life to you?

As for your second paragraph you leave a gaping ethical hole: what of the intelligent beings created illegally? We're probably not far from the point of being able to manipulate organisms to develop human-class sapience - if the only protection such creatures have is that it's illegal to create them in the first place then what happens to them when they are discovered? By any ethical yardstick they would be people, but people with no claim to human rights. Do we just say "Hey, a slave race, cool. We created you so we can do whatever we like. But don't worry, we threw your creators in prison so it's all good."?

I do not contest that the gains of animal experimentation may well be worth the sacrifice, my objection is only that the ones making the sacrifice are given no choice in the matter, and the people performing the experiments tend to deny that the moral dilemma exists at all. Perfectly understandable from a perspective of their own psychological well-being, but intellectually dishonest. And it means it has to fall on the rest of us what sort of moral price we're willing to pay

Re:Already not in use (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44022951)

If they aren't being utilized aren't they technically already sheltered? Would there be better conditions at a different shelter? I'd like to know what sort of daily conditions the "un-utilized" chimps have.

he meant PETA shelters.. you know, so that they chimps wouldn't be wasting precious food from humans anymore.

Re:Already not in use (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44022041)

Partly because there's been a decreasing number of cases where the scientific consensus is that the use of chimpanzees as animal models is needed, relative to alternatives. Since you need to convince an Institutional Review Board (for any study, not only involving chimps) that your study is necessary, beneficial, and the best choice relative to alternatives when considering both scientific merit and ethics, there are a decreasing number of cases where IRBs approve chimpanzee studies. Cost is also a factor besides IRB issues: if you can do something without chimps, it's usually cheaper to take that option.

Here's a blurb from the National Research Council's 2011 study on the subject [amazon.com] , in which they set up a "Committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research" to assess the current situation and make recommendations:

While the chimpanzee has been a valuable animal model in past research, most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary, based on the criteria established by the committee, except potentially for two current research uses:

1. Development of future monoclonal antibody therapies will not require the chimpanzee, due to currently available technologies. However, there may be a limited number of monoclonal antibodies already in the development pipeline that may require the continued use of chimpanzees.

2. The committee was evenly split and unable to reach consensus on the necessity of the chimpanzee for the development of a prophylactic hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine. Specifically, the committee could not reach agreement on whether a preclinical challenge study using the chimpanzee model was necessary and if or how much the chimpanzee model would accelerate or improve prophylactic HCV vaccine development.

That's from the biomedical-research recommendations; their conclusions on behavior research were that chimpanzee models may still be quite valuable in that area. In addition, they recommended that genomics research using chimpanzee genomes was both valuable and of relatively little ethical concern, so should continue.

Great news (3, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#44021907)

...for the biological and biomedical research industries of other countries.

Re:Great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44021995)

Bullshit. If you're going to the 3rd world to avoid regulation, you'll just use discardable humans rather than chimps.

Re:Great news (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44022141)

...for the biological and biomedical research industries of other countries.

That means the funding is going to come from someplace other than my taxes.

Re:Great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44023447)

...for the biological and biomedical research industries of other countries.

Nah... I don't thing GWB would consider leaving US.

Good! More social power! (1)

Bleek II (878455) | about a year ago | (#44021913)

Inhuman practices by research groups gives science a bad name, even if you feel it is mere public perception. This will help science more that it hurts it given advances in simulation and lab grown tissue methods of research. The more social traction we can get the better.

Re:Good! More social power! (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44021991)

Also, the Federation is more likely to contact us and invite us to join, when we give up using intelligent species as experimental subjects.

Re:Good! More social power! (1)

Bleek II (878455) | about a year ago | (#44022991)

Maybe Elon Musk will be our Zefram Cochrane. But we're still pre-warp civilization so we're going to have to wait a little while longer.

We should use people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022131)

There are 7 BILLION of poor people on this planet with 150 MILLION more per year being popped out annually.

Why not pay some of these folks to be experimental subjects?

Isn't that what the poor is for? Exploitation?

I mean, if those people had anything of value to give or produce, they'd be wealthy.

Simple economics.

And I have a solution for them - something of value they DO have - their bodies.

Free Market Economy! The savior of endangered species!

Re:We should use people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022345)

"We" already do use people. We pay them, not very well. I'm all for it, if it is voluntary.

Who am I to tell people what they can and can't do with their bodies?

I didn't even know there were chimp scientists (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#44021929)

Oh, the article is about research on chimps, not by chimps. Guess I should have read it first.

Re:I didn't even know there were chimp scientists (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44022121)

Not any more. [businessweek.com]

Who cares? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44021933)

Who cares about a bunch of monkeys? If the research helps save human lives then fuck em. Kill em all!

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022287)

Yes, the end justifies the means. I like your style.

interesting list of supporters (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44021939)

The fact that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is involved makes me suspect there might be something more to this story than just activist opposition to research involving primates. That association tends to not be very political, and instead is focused more on best practices for zoos, and how to combat things like poaching for the pet or traditional-medicine industries.

What about negroes? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44021949)

How does this rule affect research on negroes? It seems that if you want to restrict research on chimps, then you would have to include negroes too. Just sayin'

Yay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022019)

I'm happy to see those rejoicing in this sort of ruling volunteering as test subjects themselves.

What?

Re:Yay? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44022071)

And who asked the chimps if they wanted to be used in medical experiments?

Re:Yay? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year ago | (#44022147)

And who asked the chimps if they wanted to be used in medical experiments?

Troll!

And how [exactly], would they do that?

Re:Yay? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022285)

Well, none of them said "no."

Re:Yay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022491)

Have your parents asked you if you wanted to be born?
The scientists wouldn't invest in breeding these chimps if they weren't allowed to do anything with them.

captcha: infarct

A bit too radical (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#44022031)

If chimps are found a use in science, that would do more for their survival than any preservation program. This regulation shouldn't cover chimps bred in captivity.

Re: A bit too radical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022087)

This had absolutely nothing to do with preserving the chimp species. It has to do with preserving the quality of life for all chimps, whether bred in the wild or captivity.

A Tangent (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44023463)

Your post reminded me about how Rhinos are endangered due to the black market value of their horn, the sale of which was made completely illegal in order to protect them...

There's numerous people who argue that if you legalized the sale of non-lethally harvested horns* from ranched Rhinos, their endangered status would go away because the black market would essentially be no more.

*Rhino horn is essentially fused hair; it grows back!

Chimpa can be easily replaced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022069)

Why use chimps when politicians are so plentiful? As a side benefit, politicians may be biologically closer to humans thus lab resluls may be more applicable.

I wonder what... (1)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#44022079)

... Ham [wikipedia.org] would say about all this.

Vivisection has no purpose or place in society. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#44022085)

The correlation to humans of results obtained from vivisection on any animals (including chimps) has always been questionable at best.

The reasons vivisection is still conducted comes down to 3 points:

1) Inflicting suffering on animals is unfortunately relatively cheap compared to more humane methods, even though the humane methods can produce better results.

2) Nearly all scientists that already perform vivisection simply don't want to adapt from the techniques they already are most familiar with, regardless of the consequent elimination of animal suffering.

3) The legislation covering the release of new products basically assumes vivisection and isn't sufficiently flexible to encourage or even accommodate alternative methods.

http://www.twainquotes.com/Vivisection.html [twainquotes.com]

Re:Vivisection has no purpose or place in society. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44022115)

For better or worse, this proposed rule isn't really targeting the use of animals in research generally, only chimpanzees specifically. While some former uses of chimpanzees are being replaced by non-animal models (e.g. computational simulations), the most common replacements are other animals. In particular, genetically modified mice, which can now be modified to better mimic various kinds of human in vivo conditions, are used for a lot of things that other animals would've once been used for.

Re:Vivisection has no purpose or place in society. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#44023957)

Yes, I agree, we need anti-vivisection legislation for all animals, not just chimps.
Its a shame that even the government is shallow enough to only be concerned about "cute" animals or ones that most physically resemble humans.

Re:Vivisection has no purpose or place in society. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022297)

And for better or for worse, we have to admit that there is a certain dark "fun" in vivisection. Experiementing on live subjects can provide a "kick". Not saying that this always a good thing, but it is a natural fact of the psychological side of our human nature.

you don't know what you're talking about (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44023541)

Your understanding of science and biology seems to be stuck some time in the 19th century, and your terminology is intended to tie legitimate research to Nazi methods, which involved cutting people open without anesthesia.

Researchers go out of their way to treat chimps as well as possible and keep them comfortable, not just because they actually tend to get attached to the animals, but also because chimps are expensive and because discomfort destroys research results. There is no legislation requiring "vivisection" of chimps, there is no legitimate research meeting the definition of "vivisection" being performed on chimps in the US. When chimps undergo surgery, it's done with great care under anesthesia.

The situation is different for small mammals like mice and rats, in that they are deliberately hurt while conscious for certain kinds of research. But that seems no different from the kind of suffering we inflict on the same species through traps and poisons. And it pales in comparison to the pain and suffering that is inflicted on food animals, and in particular food animals killed according to some religious rituals.

Re:you don't know what you're talking about (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year ago | (#44023939)

Really? trying to stop pain and suffering is an outdated concept that belongs in the 19th century? Wow. I think it is you that has the screwed up understanding (and morality), not me.

And FYI the term "vivisection" is the correct one. I'm sorry your limited/culturally biassed (lack of) education associates it only with Nazis.

Rule Would Drastically Restrict Chimp Resarch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022261)

And Obama sighs a huge sigh of relief

hmmm (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44022273)

I think chimps should be able to research any field of science they want. Just because some congressman went and saw Planet of the Apes doesn't mean that we should restrict them in such a way.

Human Fetuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022463)

Yeah, leave chimps alone. Stick with unborn human fetuses. That's morally acceptable for the lot of you.

Re: Human Fetuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022903)

That's one by me. Chimps are cognitive and they know what we are doing to them.

Fetuses don't have the ability to think.

Ambiguous title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44022545)

Do they restrict research on chimps or by chimps?

"benefit the survival of the species" (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44022589)

Which species?

And that is a strange phrase. I cannot think of any research that helps the survival of either Humans or Chimps.

Re:"benefit the survival of the species" (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about a year ago | (#44023165)

>I cannot think of any research that helps the survival of either Humans or Chimps.

Uh...

All apes should be off limits, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44023023)

How many of you Yanks here know that in the 19th Century, sick depraved US scientists, with the full blessing of the US government, used black slaves for medical experimentation at all the major US universities. Living slaves were subject to dissection. Every form of atrocity imaginable was carried out.

Today, every major US drug company continues the exact same practices in Africa, Asia, and until quite recently even in countries like East Germany, where East German authorities actually provided their citizens as unwilling/unknowing guinea pigs for testing new drugs. When rich powerful gays in the US were first terrified about the impact of AIDS, they used their political influence to have children in care used as experimental subjects - children were actually removed from foster careers in New York if they refused to allow the kids in their care to participate in these sickening experiments.

Every one of these Human experiments, including the deliberate infection of Black Americans and prisoners with various deadly diseases and radioactive materials in the 20th century, was justified by filth saying "the ends justify the means". Today, rich and powerful Americans are having full body blood transfusions from young victims in the third-world because recent pseudo-science claims such procedures prolong life.

Not a day passes when some depravity from Israel, the centre of all world trafficking in organs removed from living victims, isn't caught practising this filthy trade.

Against this monstrous behaviour, what chance do our VERY near cousins, the apes, stand? It should be illegal across our planet for anyone to experiment on any member of the ape family. Apes should have the same protection as Humans, but what protection do Humans have when they have the misfortune to be poor and resident in a third world nation?

In a world where Team Obama has caused the extermination of 100,000 Humans in Syria, and is actively working to increase the level of civilians deaths into the millions, we are all involved in a fight for survival. Apes sit at the edge of extinction, ready to walk the same path as all other competing Human like species. Humanity, under the orders of the leaders of early forms of organised religion, wiped out ever species that was seen as a direct competitor. Homo Sapien was NEVER the only intelligent species on the planet, but the other ape-ancestor descendants didn't survive our pre-written history acts of literal genocide.

Apes had the 'good' fortune to live in remote areas and not have much of a spoken language. As 'animals' they never quite became the focus of our genocidal tendencies. Today, modern science reverses that understanding, and allows us to know that apes are remarkably close to Humans. Some moral intellectuals realise this means apes should be given many of the protections and rights Humans enjoy. Forces closely aligned with those that control organised religions have the very opposite POV, of course. They partner a certain strand of 'atheism' pushed by people like Dawkins (the version of 'atheism' that enthusiastically supported Human experimentation on slaves pre-20th century, and on 'prisoners' during WW2 by the Germans, Japanese and Americans- the Japanese actually called these victims 'logs' as they dissected them while they were conscious).

The unholy alliance between Dawkins' mob, and the religious nutters, promotes the position that all animals (and lesser Humans) exist for the exclusive benefit of (superior) Humans, and therefore we can as we like with them. Every decent Human, regardless of what spiritual values that Human follows, believes that ape experimentation is a direct equivalent to crimes against humanity.

Re:All apes should be off limits, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44023527)

I truly believe that if an alien civilization were to come to Earth in order to study life here, that they would come to different conclusions than you. You tacitly assume that blacks and whites are the same species. What makes you so sure that this is correct, or that this assumption is objective in any way? You're post is tainted by cultural bias that has nothing to do with objetive taxonmy. Don't be so sure that an alien scientific community would harbor your cultural assumptions.

There is a strong argument to be made that blacks and whites are not of ths same species, related perhaps, but the same? Not likely when evaluated from a position free of cultural bias. Indeed, even within our accecepted system of taxonomy, there are species of birds that are considered distinct even though these species are actually closer to each other in acestory than blacks and whites.

Why Not Just Use Humans? (1)

morari (1080535) | about a year ago | (#44023053)

They're vastly overpopulated, and a much closer genetic match to our own species.

mod 30wn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44023117)

the projec!t isR in

Use Politicians (1)

ATestR (1060586) | about a year ago | (#44023285)

Instead of using Chimps in the drug testing, let's use Politicians. That way we can be sure that no potentially intelligent life forms are being abused.

unintended consequences (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about a year ago | (#44023367)

What this likely does is increase the cost of owning *any* chimp, for *any* purpose, including conservation, in the US. And decrease the benefit.

Most will be sold off abroad where the laws aren't so stringent. The conservationist sympathizers will feel all warm and fuzzy about themselves, because all the chimps *they see* will be "retired", but most of the chimps affected end up with worse lives.

Two-sided coin (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year ago | (#44023647)

While I am not in favor of harming animals for the sake of harming them. This statute if it goes into effect is a two sided coin. Many of the treatments that we have for human beings were first perfected on animals. Those same treatments also benefit animals. Right now, people, right or wrong, spend millions of dollars on various treatments for their pets that are basically the results of animal testing on the way to perfecting treatments for humans. If you take away that research avenue, then where will the future animal research money come from?

So yes, we will protect the chimps and what ever other animals get included, but when your cat has feline lukemia or your dog needs some type of surgery to repair something, without the research first going from animal to human, it is unlikely that those skills and techniques are going to flow backwards.

Just a thought.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?