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Booker Legislation Seeks to End Unethical and Unnecessary Testing on Primates

Bill would restrict animal testing using primate species

December 18, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) today would seek to prevent unnecessary and unethical animal testing practices on primates.

Experiments on primates often are unnecessary, as they do not address essential human needs, such as effective medical treatments and cures for serious medical conditions. For instance, a scientific review by the Institute of Medicine determined that chimpanzees were not necessary for scientific research. As a result, the National Institutes of Health has ended funding for all chimpanzee experiments, which effectively eliminated experiments on chimpanzees.

“When scientifically reliable alternatives exist, animal testing should be avoided,” Booker said. “This legislation seeks to eliminate unethical and unnecessary testing on primates and would make any new testing on primates a last resort when necessary for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of life-threatening human diseases.”

The Primate Protection and Research Modernization Act of 2018 is endorsed by numerous scientists, legal scholars, and other professionals.

The bill has four major components:

  • It restricts testing on nonhuman primates and require approval of new nonhuman primate testing by a committee of experts. To qualify for review by the committee, proposed testing must meet four criteria: (1) the research is for prevention, diagnosis or treatment of debilitating or life-threatening clinical conditions in human beings; (2) no alternative research method exists; (3) the nonhuman primates will be housed in an ethologically appropriate environment; and (4) a National Academies of Sciences review indicates that the use of nonhuman primates has an established history of advancing the field of research in question and has resulted in meaningful clinical interventions.

  • It requires the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review preexisting fields of research and determine whether nonhuman primate research has led to meaningful clinical interventions.

  • It prohibits foreign grants and restricts domestic awards to perform nonhuman primate research, unless prior approval is provided by the newly created review committee.

  • It prohibits research for consumer goods and products.