Tag: ethicists

Andrew Fenton, PhD

Some conscientious animal researchers explicitly advocate securing the cooperation of cognitively and socially complex animals when using them in research (e.g., Berns et al 2012; Matsuzawa 2006). In 2013, the NIH officially accepted most of the recommendations of an independent advisory council regarding chimpanzees used in NIH-funded research. This included only using acquiescent chimpanzees in comparative genomic and behavioral research (Altevogt et al 2011). What’s more, there is good evidence that cooperative animals make for less stressed out research subjects, and stress is a known confounder in animal research (Coleman 2010).

There is no morally significant difference between the dogs discussed by Berns et al, or the chimpanzees discussed by Matsuzawa and Altevogt et al, and such nonhuman primates as baboons, macaques, or marmosets. The NIH should ensure that, moving forward, the cooperation of nonhuman primates is required when using them in NIH-funded research.

Altevogt, B.M., Pankevich, D.E., Shelton-Davenport, M.K., and Kahn, J.P. Chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research: assessing the necessity. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2011.
Berns, G.S., Brooks, A.M., and Spivak, M. Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained Dogs. PloS One 2012; 7(5): 1-7.
Coleman, K. Caring for Nonhuman Primates in Biomedical Research Facilities: Scientific, Moral and Emotional Considerations. American Journal of Primatology 2010; 71: 1-6.
Matsuzawa, T. Sociocognitive Development in Chimpanzees: A Synthesis of Laboratory Work and Fieldwork. In Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees. Matsuzawa, T., Tomonaga, M., and Tanaka, M., eds. Tokyo: Springer-Verlag Tokyo, 2006: 3-33.