Thomas Lersch [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons
Because they are our closest animal relatives, the use of chimpanzees in research has brought about both valuable advances for human health and intense ethical controversy. The US is one of very few countries that currently allow research on chimpanzees. Both the European Union and the UK already prohibit invasive research on chimpanzees. In 2010, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), a key source of federal funds for all types of biomedical research, commissioned a study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to assess the necessity of using chimpanzees in research. The IOM report, issued in December 2011, found that “while the chimpanzee has been a valuable animal model in past research, most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary.”
Lab Anim. (NY) 41, 31 (2012).
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