Interestingly, Spain granted great apes, the family Hominidae including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans (and humans, though military experimentation on our kind supposedly stopped late in the last century) legal rights back in 2008. Yet, even in that, Spain was somewhat of a latecomer. Most developed countries have passed the U.S. by in their rules regarding experimentation on apes. New Zealand passed a ban similar to Spain's in 2000 and the UK stopped granted research licenses for chimps back in 1997.So as my airplane chased the sun, I was also heading back in ethical time.
Although the IOM report leaves the door partly open for HCV vaccine research, in other disease areas it is less equivocal. Jeffrey Kahn, the committee chair and deputy director of policy and administration at Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore, Maryland, notes that only one other active research area meets the IOM standards: existing studies in which chimps are used to produce monoclonal antibodies and to test their safety. “No other current biomedical research areas were seen as meeting the committee’s criteria,” Kahn says. During a media briefing after the report’s release, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, which supports 612 chimps and oversees most of the government’s chimp research, said that 37 agency-funded chimp studies would be evaluated under the report’s criteria. Those that do not pass muster will be phased out; no new studies involving experimentation on chimps will be funded unless the criteria are met. ... But animal-welfare activists are pleased that the committee came down resoundingly on the side of less is better. Even in the case of a preventive HCV vaccine, says Kathleen Conlee, senior director for animal-research issues at the Humane Society of the United States in Washington DC, “it didn’t say, ‘We absolutely need chimps for this’, but rather, ‘We couldn’t decide.’”
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