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Draft Principles and guidelines for the care and use of non-human primates for scientific purposes submission

ID: 
7
This submission reflects the views of
Please add further information: 
Someone opposed to animal testing - Australian citizen - Animal Justice Party Member
Personal Details
First Name: 
Justine
Last Name: 
Curatolo
Option 1 - Online comments
SPECIFIC ISSUE FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION - NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS TO THE ANIMAL WELFARE COMMITTEE: 
"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals and the answer is: 'Because animals are like us’. Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us’. Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.”- Professor Charles R. Magel There is never enough accuracy (or humanity) to justify testing on animals for human benefit. The nonhuman rights project will use legal systems whilst the animal justice party will use political systems to dismantle this unnecessary and CRUEL practice which still does not benefit humans - only the bank accounts of pharmaceutical executives....
General comments on section/paragraph of the draft NHP Guidelines: 
Introduction

 

  • The NHMRC advises that a ban on the importation of primates for research purposes “is outside of this review” however they do state (on page 5 of the consultation) “Great apes must not be imported from overseas for use for scientific purposes.” If they can mandate this for great apes then they should do so for all non-human primates. Long distance transportation of these animals causes further suffering over and above what they will endure in Australian research labs. Furthermore, despite the requirements that imported animals must be captive-bred, it cannot be guaranteed that they will not be derived from wild stock, resulting in broken family and social groups, and stress of capture.
  • The NHMRC acknowledges that “The complex and highly social behaviour and advanced cognitive capacity of many non-human primates make it difficult to adequately provide for their needs in a captive environment ore research setting.” At the conclusion of their use they state “Retirement must be considered as an option if suitable in terms of the health and temperament of the animal, and space is available at a facility that can meet their specific physical, social and behavioural needs.” Currently, there is no sanctuary for retired lab animals.  If the use of primates has been funded by the NHMRC then the NHMRC and/or research institution must take responsibility to ensure that the wellbeing of these animals is guaranteed for the remainder of their natural lives. These animals deserve a dignified retirement in return for their suffering.
  • “NHMRC is particularly interested in your views on the need for notification to NHMRC of specified activities involving the care and use of non-human primates.” It is absolutely essential that all use of primates is reported to the NHMRC and that a full database is established to monitor all aspects of their use. This is to ensure there is no repetition of experiments between institutions and that every possible avenue has been explored regarding the sourcing of alternatives. This should be overseen by an expert panel and not left to the decision–making of institutional animal ethics committees which operate independently, are unlikely to have full disclosure of all primate use in Australia and will unlikely be fully conversant of the availability of non-animal alternatives.
  • Like humans, primates have a communicative language, they use gestures, facial expressions and body language to interact with one another and their cognitive ability has been argued to rival that of a young child.

    It is these sentient, genetic and cognitive similarities to humans which see primates used as models for scientific testing. However, by this same logic, it is exactly these characteristics which show that primates have the ability to suffer both physical and psychological pain. Considering the similarities that humans and primates share, it is unethical to continue testing on them.

  • Aside from the clear ethical dilemma of using animals with high cognitive abilities and well-developed social structures as mere ‘tools for research’, the use of primates has been found to be poorly predictive of human outcomes and their use has proven to be ineffective at providing substantial contributions to biomedical research.

Page reviewed: 16 September, 2016