U.S. Captive Chimpanzees Designation as Endangered Species Is Now in Effect

As of September 14, all chimpanzees are listed as endangered under U.S. law, both wild and captive, as the result of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision earlier this year. With the new designation, it is illegal to sell chimpanzees in the interstate pet trade or to engage in commercial transport of the animals across state lines. Permits are now required for anyone wishing to conduct biomedical research involving captive chimpanzees, and will only be issued by FWS if it will benefit the survival of the species.

The effective date of the FWS action was welcomed by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO Wayne Pacelle in several blog messages (see here and here). It was also celebrated online by other animal activists. “It's so good to hear that unnecessary biomedical research on chimpanzees is coming to an end . . .” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said on her Facebook page September 8 along with a picture of chimpanzees.

Meanwhile, there has been broad news coverage about the race to find an Ebola vaccine in order to save wild Great Apes, including chimpanzees, whose numbers are being decimated by the disease in Africa. The testing of vaccines in chimpanzees at the New Iberia Primate Research Center in Louisiana, and the question of whether that work would continue after September 14, was raised in a National Public Television Newshour segment. That question is still unanswered. The Atlantic Magazine raises more questions about how harmful the new restrictions on biomedical research with chimpanzees may be to wild populations in the story “Should Apes Be Saved from Ebola?

Will a Ban on Chimpanzee Research Actually Do More Harm than Good?

Time and time again, animal rights supporters have stated that a ban on animal research is the best solution for the animals.  But is it really?  Debora MacKenzie with New Scientist published an article today that answers that important question with a surprising answer.

In her story, “Ban on chimp testing puts wild ape vaccine for Ebola at risk,” MacKenzie points out the devastating toll of the Ebola virus on both humans and wild chimpanzees in Africa.  After a 17 month outbreak claiming more than 11,000 victims, promising human trials are now underway across West Africa.  But what about the apes?  They too are susceptible to Ebola and according to the University of Cambridge, one third of the world’s gorilla population has been eradicated because of the virus, leaving the western lowland gorilla critically endangered.  Thanks to research at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, an edible vaccination is in development to prevent apes from spreading Ebola to each other.

This research may end because of a long campaign by animal rights supporters.  On September 15 a ban by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is set to begin on the use of captive chimpanzees in biomedical research.

To read the article and learn more about this important research and the impact of the ban, please click here.

New York’s Highest Court Deals Serious Blow to Chimpanzee “Personhood” Movement

Earlier today, the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, declined to hear appeals brought forward by animal rights lawyer Stephen Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP).

Previous attempts by Wise and NhRP to seek a writ of habeas corpus for privately-owned chimpanzees had failed in lower courts. Wise argued that chimpanzees were denied their basic legal rights, comparing them to slaves and prisoners.  Previously, three justices in a midlevel court denied legal standing for chimpanzees by saying the animals "cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions."  Most recently, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffee noted in Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) v. Stanley that, "Animals… are accorded no legal rights beyond being guaranteed the right to be free from physical abuse and other mistreatment.”

To read more about today's developments, please see the coverage by U.S. News & World Report and ABC News.

Standing Tall Against Animal Rights’ Challenges to Research in the U.K.

Most of NABR’s members are familiar with the history of the animal rights movement here in America.  But how much do you know about their activities abroad, specifically in the United Kingdom?  How much do you know about those standing in support of animal research?

Speaking of Research, a pro-research blog, recently published a posting called, “Pro-Test: Tackling Animal Rights in the UK,” highlighting important events in the U.K.  It is important to understand the animal rights movement’s approach to animal research from an international perspective because, as the story points out, the U.K. has been a hotbed for activists since the 1970’s.  Having endured threats, violence, and intimidation, researchers there had been apprehensive about vocalizing the importance of their lifesaving and life-improving work.  They rose up and marched, in greater number than their detractors, showing the world their pride for their noble cause.  They spoke out in the media, snatching the headlines and public support from their opponents.  They worked to get political leaders, like then Prime Minister Tony Blair, on-record endorsing the importance of animal models.

These researchers are a shining example of how to effectively stand for the importance of ethical and humane animal research.  To read more about the community supporting animal research in the U.K., please click here.

New York Judge Rules Against Habeas Corpus for Chimps

Today, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffee ruled against a writ of habeas corpus for chimpanzees.

The case, Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) v. Stanley, brought forward by animal rights lawyer Stephen Wise and the NhRP, sought to establish legal rights on behalf of two chimpanzees currently located at Stony Brook University.  Wise and the NhRP had argued that these animals were denied their basic legal rights, going so far as to compare them to slaves and prisoners.

In her decision, Justice Jaffee defined "persons" as those who have "rights, duties, and obligations" and noted that, "Animals, including chimpanzees and other highly intelligent mammals, are considered as property under the law. They are accorded no legal rights beyond being guaranteed the right to be free from physical abuse and other mistreatment.” She also wrote, "The past mistreatment of humans, whether slaves, women, indigenous people or others, as property, doesn't, however, serve as a legal predicate or appropriate analogy for extending to nonhumans the status of legal personhood."

Justice Jaffee's decision is available for viewing here.

To read more about today's ruling, please see the coverage by The Wall Street JournalReuters, The New York Daily News, and The New York Post.

Please stay tuned for a more in-depth legal analysis from NABR.

Chicago Sun-Times Prints Opinion Piece by NABR, FBR President

Frankie Trull, President of the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), has once again been featured in a major news publication lauding the importance of animal research.  On Sunday, July 12, her opinion piece, “In defense of using animals in lab research” was featured by the Chicago Sun-Times, a newspaper that has a Sunday circulation of over 406,000.

In “In defense of using animals in lab research,” she outlines the crucial value that animal models provide in the hunt to improve animal and human health.  She discusses the many similarities that humans have with animal models and charts the benefits that they provide in medical discovery, particularly with macular degeneration.

To read the story, please click here.

The Chicago Sun-Times opinion piece joins NABR and FBR’s media coverage in other nationally recognized publications like the Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

Animal Activist Pressure Results in House Appropriations Report Language

A months-long, multi-pronged campaign by a variety of animal rights groups against some National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported research projects involving nonhuman primates has resulted in a reference made in the report accompanying the House Committee on Appropriations bill for FY 2016. Included with many other comments and issues raised in the 263-page report, is this paragraph:

Review of Maternal Deprivation Studies.—The Committee is aware that prominent experts and animal advocacy organizations have raised concerns about the scientific and ethical justifications for maternal deprivation studies involving baby monkeys being conducted in both intramural and extramural NIH funded laboratories. The Committee is further aware that the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare opened an investigation in response to these allegations on September 9, 2014. The investigations consulted with research investigators, the USDA, nonhuman primate center scientists, veterinarians, animal care staff and other relevant experts. As a result of the investigation, several modifications were made to the protocol and several procedures removed. Accordingly, the Committee requests NIH to conduct a review of its ethical policies and processes with respect to nonhuman primate research subjects, in consultation with outside experts, to ensure it has appropriate justification for animal research protocols and to provide an update on these efforts in the fiscal year 2017 budget request.

NABR Releases Analysis of Animal Rights Federal FOIA Requests in FY14

You have received a FOIA request.  You know what they want from your research institution.  But do you know what animal rights groups are looking for from other research institutions?  Do you know how many such requests were filed at federal agencies?  Do you know which groups are the most frequent requesters?  Do you know how much these requests cost the agencies?  Now you will.  Following on the heels of NABR’s successful analysis of animal rights FOIA requests in 2013, NABR has released “A Review of Animal Rights FOIA Requests FY14.”

This is an in-depth report of each and every Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made in FY14 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health by animal rights groups that you won’t find anywhere else.  NABR’s experts have broken these requests down in an easy to read format to quickly understand the commonly requested information, frequency of requests by party, and an examination of the cost to NIH and USDA.

As animal rights groups continue to rely on FOIA to gather intelligence about research institutions for targeting purposes, it is important to understand their tactics and the true impact of such requests.  Please download “A Review of Animal Rights FOIA Requests FY14” by clicking below and share it with your staff and FOIA offices.

 
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Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Pens Letter to Science on Researcher Harassment

On May 8, Steven Hyman, President of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and SfN Committee on Animals in Research Chair Michael Goldberg submitted a letter to Science in response to the article, “Researcher Drops Primate Work.”  The letter was printed in the June 12 issue of Science.

The letter highlights the great value of humane animal research in the endeavor for medical progress in the fields of animal and human health.  Drs. Hyman and Goldberg write, “Research on animals, including non-human primates, provides the basis for breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and devastating infectious diseases like HIV, Ebola, and influenza. Monkey research played a key role in the development of deep-brain stimulation for treating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

Most importantly, Drs. Hyman and Goldberg point to the troubling and disruptive actions by extremist elements seeking to derail the hunt for cures and therapies.  “It is unacceptable that researchers worldwide are subject to harassment, threats of violence, illegal taping, and property damage, and we urge aggressive enforcement of laws that protect responsible research, scientific institutions, and scientists,” they write.  This behavior, they continued, “will only lengthen the time needed to better understand complex neural systems, which are crucial to find treatments more than 1,000 disorders.”

To read the letter, please click here.

Editorial: Increase in Animal Research Leads to New Treatments, Cures, and Better Lives

Yesterday, February 25, Speaking of Research published a piece entitled, “Animal research successes spur growth in science…but PeTA can only complain.”

In his piece, David Jentsch answers a report by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which notes that the number of animals involved in research has grown by over 70% during the past 15 years.  Jentsch discusses how this increase is due to an acceleration of innovation and discovery in unlocking many of the world’s health questions.  He writes, “Thanks to the researchers that occupy laboratories around the world, scientific discoveries are coming faster than ever, and all of us benefit. It’s not just that there is more research being done – it’s that the impact of the science is better than ever thanks to more advanced technologies, accumulating knowledge of how the body works and more advanced animals models, including ones that mimic human disease processes in increasingly sophisticated ways that promote new discoveries and new opportunities to develop novel drugs.”

“What is the consequence of the growth in animal research? The answer is: new treatments, new cures, less sickness and longer, healthier lives,” says Jentsch.

To read Jentsch’s submission to Speaking of Research, please click here.

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