U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Labels Captive Chimpanzees Endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced on their website a new rule elevating the status of captive chimpanzees in the U.S. from “threatened” to “endangered.” This new ruling effectively means that biomedical research with the chimpanzee model may become difficult, if not impossible, to conduct.  Of the 36 proposed species for relisting, only captive chimpanzees would have an impact on scientific discovery. It is perplexing how reclassifying captive chimpanzees in the U.S. as endangered, which have been purpose bred for research, would result in any material benefit to the species in the wild. Ongoing research projects involving the chimpanzee model are now required to request a “take” permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a potentially lengthy process that will likely result in the discontinuation of  a number of current studies.

In 2013, NABR provided recommendations to the agency, explaining the past, current, and future potential benefits of chimpanzee research on both human and ape health.

Chimpanzees have been an important part of medical advancement in the United States for decades. The contribution the species has made to medicine benefits nearly every child born in America today. Most children get their first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, and the Hepatitis A vaccine is typically administered at age 1. Without the chimpanzee model, which naturally carries the virus, researchers would not have been able to produce vaccines for either Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B.

The Service acknowledges in its rulemaking notice that chimpanzees suffer from many of the same diseases humans do by stating, “…diseases, including Marburg virus, polio, anthrax, pneumonia, human respiratory syncytical virus, and human metapneumovirus have resulted in widespread death of chimpanzees, even within national parks.” To suggest that medical research with the chimpanzee model does not benefit both the human and chimpanzee species simply is inaccurate.

The full impact the new FWS ruling will have on biomedical research is unclear.  However, it would be unfortunate, even grave, should an infectious disease outbreak occur where human lives are at stake and a chimpanzee model could expedite development of life-saving medicines.

 

ALF Destroys Animal Research-Related Trucks in Canada

Canadian Regional Police are investigating claims by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) that it is responsible for setting fire to two trucks in west Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, over the weekend. In an anonymous email to the ALF Press Office, the organization says it planted incendiary devices under trucks belonging to Harlan Laboratories. The ALF claims Harlan is “owned” by longtime animal rights extremist target Huntingdon Life Sciences, and the company is responsible for supplying research animals and animal feed. Police received multiple calls about a loud bang, flash of light and heavy smoke just after 3 a.m. Sunday. Officers responded and located a transport truck fully engulfed and part of another in flames behind an industrial warehouse unit. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze before it could spread to the warehouse. There were no injuries and no one was on scene when crews arrived, police report.

A photograph of the burning trucks and the full, anonymous email “communiqué” are available at this ALFPO link. The ALF message says in part, "This action was undertaken in order to eliminate this...company's means of transportation, to disrupt the systematic torture and murder of innocent animals, and to cause as much monetary damage as possible." The email also states, "Fortunately, news reports have said that the devices ignited successfully, damaging one truck and completely destroying the other. Our only regret is that the flames were extinguished before they had a chance to spread to Harlan’s offices."

New Video Answers the Question, “Why Are Animals Needed in Research?”

Those of us in the biomedical research community are often asked by friends, family and acquaintances: why must we use animals in research?  The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) has just released a short new video that answers this very basic question and is designed to be a shareable teaching tool for the public.

Featuring several of the country’s leading scientists and medical experts, this video highlights why animal research is critical for medical progress and the advancement of both human and animal health.

Please take 5 minutes to watch and share it with those you know who may be curious about animal research. Share it with the public, your colleagues, and post it on social media to help increase awareness of the necessity of animal models in medical discovery.

If you appreciate this video and would like to help FBR continue educating the public on these critical issues, please make your tax deductible donation to the Foundation today.

 

Texas House of Representatives Passes Resolution Honoring UTMB’s Ebola Research

On Wednesday, May 27, the Texas House of Representatives passed H.R. 2464 to recognize the efforts of the researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston in the hunt for an Ebola vaccine.

According to the resolution, UTMB “has made important strides toward conquering the Ebola virus” by developing a single-dose vaccine that is scheduled for human trials this summer.  Legislators acknowledge the importance of animal research by noting, “researchers conducted nonhuman primate testing in the Galveston National Laboratory, the only fully operational Biosafety Level 4 laboratory on an academic campus in the United States.”

To read this honor bestowed by the Texas House of Representatives, please click here.

The Guardian Features Editorial Supporting Primate Research

On Monday, May 25, The Guardian featured an editorial lauding the importance of animals, specifically the use of primate models, in medical research.  The piece, titled, The Guardian view on vital medical research on primates: don’t give in to the animal rights advocates, even states that abandoning primate research would be “craven and foolish.”

The Guardian describes the animal rights extremist agenda against prominent European researcher Nikos Logothetis and his important work.  The piece also highlights extraordinary work by neuroscientists in California that have enabled a paralyzed patient to control a robotic arm through his brain’s impulses, a development achieved through research with monkeys.

Please take a moment to read this editorial by clicking here.

Air France CEO Defends Transportation of Research Primates

(An abridged repost from Agence France Presse; "Air France to continue transporting lab monkeys")

May 21, 2015

Air France will continue to transport live monkeys for laboratory testing, the airline's CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at an Air-France-KLM shareholders' meeting held as animal rights activists protested nearby.

Juniac, who was re-elected by shareholders to remain at the helm of the French-Dutch company, said in response to an activist's question that the airline would defend the practice as long as it served the interests of science.
At the protest some of the around 30 activists donned monkey costumes and locked themselves up in a cage.

Challenged on the issue by a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Juniac said his company has sought advice from experts who believe "experimenting on primates with a similar genetic ancestry to human beings is indispensable" to research.
"So long as medical research for the improvement of human health requires these experiments, we will continue to transport them," he lashed out.

Juniac also said Air France applies relevant regulations and ensures the animals are well treated...