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Primate Research Issues Migrate from West to East

Credit: awizard1982/adobe

Credit: awizard1982/adobe

By Alison Behie and Colin Groves

Primate research is shifting to China where animal welfare protocols are less rigid.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Recent decisions in the USA and the European Union have limited the use of non-human primates in laboratory-based research. The US National Institutes of Health, for example, has already stopped using chimpanzees in research in its facilities, and is currently revising protocols for the use of all non-human primates.

One hoped that this would increase awareness of the ethical considerations involved in this type of research, and in turn improve animal welfare. Instead, what seems to be happening is that many American and European scientists are avoiding these issues altogether by going elsewhere to carry out their work, where red tape is less and research can carry on without adjusting to meet rigid standards. That “elsewhere”, it seems, is China.

A recent article published in Nature (http://tinyurl.com/jf5bvm4) highlighted China’s drive to become a world leader in biomedical research focusing on primates. As part of this the Chinese government is increasing funding for the construction of new biomedical laboratory facilities capable of housing more primate subjects.

What this brings into question is the ethical standards of the work being done at these labs, and more particularly the standards of animal welfare. It is documented that it costs one-quarter of the price to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.