Photo credits: ©Animal Defenders International
Ahead of International Primate Day on 1 September, Animal Defenders International (ADI) has released video footage of the routine suffering primates at the Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC) in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, experience before the experiments even begin.
With such suffering inevitable where primates are bred and used in research, ADI is calling for their use to be phased out, as urged by the signatories of a Written Declaration adopted by the European Parliament 11 years ago. With the UK one of Europe’s largest primate users and the US as one of the world’s biggest users, ADI urges these countries to lead on this issue.
The differences between humans and other primates when it comes to disease research and responses to vaccines and other substances is an ongoing problem. In studies for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), primates at the facility are injected with SIV or SHIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus or a Simian/Human hybrid). Despite BPRC claims that the SHIV model is the “most closely related model for HIV infection” none of the 85+ most promising AIDS vaccines tested in primates worldwide have been effective in human patients. BPRC collaborates with researchers from the University of Cambridge and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Corporation on HIV test vaccine research; a year-long study monitored the animals used for detrimental effects to their behaviour and appetite, and apparent discomfort, while regular blood samples were drawn.
BORN TO SUFFER: monkeys at the Biomedical Primate Research Centre in the #Netherlands. Caught on camera by ADI, the routine suffering of animals at Europe’s largest primate facility, before experiments even begin https://t.co/lU0mDHNokM
— ADI (@AnimalDefenders) August 31, 2018
More than a decade ago, the European Parliament passed Written Declaration 40/2007, calling for a timetable to replace the use of primates within the EU, but a strategy has yet to be published. In the Netherlands, a 2016 motion supported by the majority of the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament, calls for the government to investigate how a phase out of primate use at the BPRC and other facilities can be achieved as quickly as possible. Since then, the Dutch government set the ambition to become the global leader in non-animal research methods by 2025. Therefore the Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (NCad) have proposed a timetable to phase out specific types of animal use in research by 2025, in favour of innovative non-animal research methods. The Dutch Government is now waiting for a plan from BPRC to reduce the use of primates by 40%. The plan is expected to be publicly available at the beginning of 2019.
Read more on ADI’s website