Oversight of protocols involving nonhuman primates should weigh the cumulative lifetime physical and psychological harms done to the primates—including anxiety or fear; nausea; fatigue; inability to walk; an induced pathological condition such as an infectious disease; functional disability such as loss of a limb; maternal, social, and other deprivations; induction of an abnormal mental state; and a lingering, or even painless, death—against any realistic benefits expected from the proposed work. Numerous studies have documented that the cumulative effect of repeated procedures—even seemingly innocuous procedures such as blood draws—has a profound effect on the psychological suffering of primates. There is also extensive evidence available that shows that repeated subjection of nonhuman primates to stimuli such as hunger, thirst, and force-based training has a negative psychological impact on the primates. Long-term effects of early-life stresses, such as social isolation, maternal deprivation, and fear-potentiated startle reflex in macaques and squirrel monkeys, are well documented and should also be factored into the analysis weighing cumulative harms against benefits. Critically, calculation of expected benefits should be based on scientific evidence and not on speculative hopes. For space considerations, I have not included citations for the statements made in this comment, but I would be happy to supply those citations upon request.
-Theodora Capaldo, Ed.D. New England Anti-Vivisection Society