Hidden away in Australian research laboratories, hundreds of primates are being used in a variety of biomedical experiments. They are subjected to a wide range of procedures including brain and vision experiments, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), studies and heart research. These primates – macaques, marmosets and baboons – are sourced from three government-funded, research-specific breeding colonies located within Australia.
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.
(Non-human) Primates are genetically the closest living creatures to humans. Their sentient ability is thought to be very similar to ours as primates have complex social interactions. They have the ability to form and remember relationships, remember behaviours, mirror tasks, and even make predictions about future interactions. 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.
They are sentient beings – not “tools” for research!
Humane Research Australia is specifically calling for:
"I am against animal testing. It is morally wrong and unacceptable and there are NOW better methods of testing that do not involve using live animals. Primate testing is occurring in Australia at major centres and universities such as the University of Melbourne, Queensland and Monash and we ask for your support to end this cruel practice."
- Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, http://www.janegoodall.org.au
Click here for Dr Goodall's full statement