Researchers claim that the use of primates in brain research is ‘necessary’ but sophisticated neuroimaging techniques are available to study human behavior and brain function. Comparing data from human electrical brain activity with data obtained by experimenters using electrodes in restrained monkeys, Professor Furlong and his team at Aston University in the UK have shown the same level of data can be obtained, directly relevant to human patients.
International Primate Day was established by Animal Defenders International in 2005 to highlight the threats to and abuses of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – apes and monkeys – from their use in research and entertainment, for meat and the pet trade.
Around 20,000 primates are imported into the US every year, from countries such as China, Vietnam and Mauritius. ADI USA revealed the hidden suffering of primates bred for research on the tropical Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Biodia, one of the biggest suppliers of laboratory monkeys in the world, sends thousands to miserable deaths in the USA and worldwide. At this facility we filmed baby monkeys torn from their screaming mothers to be tattooed, pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down in terrifying routine procedures and screaming monkeys being swung by their tails. http://www.ad-international.org/animal_experiments/go.php?id=3503
Over 2,000 primates were imported into the UK from Asia and Africa last year. ADI infiltrated Nafovanny in Vietnam filming the macaque monkeys in small, filthy, broken cages – images the huge dealer of monkeys to the USA and UK denied were on their premises – until we proved otherwise. They once roamed free only to be torn from the trees and forced to live for years in these dismal prisons. http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=1577 Monkeys filmed Huntingdon Life Sciences were supplied by Nafovanny. http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=1576
- There are many alternatives to the use of animals which are more reliable and are based on better science such as, human cell, tissue and organ culture, including 3D models containing different tissues providing a better representation of the actual situation in a living human; databases of known information, and sophisticated analytical techniques.
- Advanced non-animal methods include the lung-on-a-chip, which mimics the movements of the breathing lung, providing provide low-cost alternatives for drug screening and toxicology tests
- Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is an analytical tool of unprecedented sensitivity. It can be used to study samples from human volunteers given ultra-low, harmless, doses of new drugs (called micro-dosing). Obtaining early data from humans can avoid the unnecessary exposure of volunteers in clinical trials to potentially toxic drugs. Safe, relevant to the correct species. Emerging technologies like AMS have many advantages, including speeding the development process and improving safety.
- Other cutting edge methods available to develop and test drugs include computer simulations and modelling, high throughput screening for rapid analysis of compounds for drug discovery, epidemiological studies of human disease, transmission, genetics and environmental factors; fMRI and other imaging techniques.
- Macaque monkeys are frequently used in toxicology testing, but they have specific genes which are vital for drug metabolism (when a drug works through the body). These genes are not found in humans and this is just one of the reasons for differences in drug metabolism between monkeys and humans.
- The action of drugs also varies; for example Aspirin causes birth defects in monkeys, but is widely used by pregnant women without the same effect.
- A review showed that none of the 85+ candidate AIDS vaccines successfully tested in primates have been effective in human patients Horses, rats and mice cannot vomit.
- Morphine drugs are a depressant in rats, dogs, hamsters and other species, but produce tremors and convulsions at comparable doses in mice and cats.
- The breast cancer drug tamoxifen was designed as an oral contraceptive. It is in rats, but in women it has the opposite effect. It is now used in the treatment of breast cancer, despite causing cancer in rats in some studies.