‘Chimps Are Poor Models’


'Chimps are poor models for research -they fight disease via a different process'

The Gazette spoke with Theodora Capaldo, president of the New England Anti-vivisection Society, the oldest animal protection agency in the United States.

Capaldo is working with the Fauna Foundation's Gloria Grow on Project R&R (rescue and restitution), an initiative that aims to secure permanent and humane retirement for chimps used for biomedical research.

Here are some facts that Capaldo offered on chimpanzees and research:

  • The United States is the only country that continues to regularly use chimpanzees for invasive biomedical research.
  • Experiments on orangutans were given up years ago because they were too susceptible to upper-respiratory infections, and gorillas were not used for experiments because they are too big.
  • Adult chimpanzees are eight times stronger than humans.
  • at six laboratories in the United ¦ About 1,000 chimpanzees are held

States. Half the laboratories are government-run, the others are a mix of university laboratories and private research facilities.

  • At any given time, only 10 per cent of the chimpanzees held at these laboratories are involved in active research. The remaining chimpanzees languish in five feet by five feet by seven feet cells.
  • Research facilities receive funds to house the chimpanzees regardless of whether they are being used in experiments.

"We could be providing the chimpanzees with 20 times more care in a healthy environment for less money than it costs the labs to keep them," Capaldo said.

Over the decades, chimpanzees have been used for research into a number of diseases, including AIDS. Capaldo said that the AIDS research was completely ineffective because the chimpanzees infected with HIV did not develop AIDS.

"Chimpanzees are poor models for research," she said.

"Fighting disease is a different process for them. Using chimpanzees for research is bad science."


Get up close and personal with video

Glenn Grow, brother of Fauna Foundation founder Gloria Grow, and employee Isabelle Veilleux give insight into their work and interactions with rescued animals at Chambly centre.


By Kathryn Greenwawy, © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette



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