This month, PETA sued the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) for failure to provide public records of 141 monkeys imported to Massachusetts in 2013. Such information is vital to ensure transport and animal welfare regulations are met.
The Daily Free Press – an independent student newspaper at Boston University – reached out to NEAVS President Theodora Capaldo, EdD, for expert comment (read original article here):
“Monkeys have been used historically for just about every area of research from trying to create disease models, develop vaccines [and] explore neurological brain functions. … There is pretty much not any area of research that monkeys haven’t by someone somewhere been the chosen model, despite whether or not that model has true applicability to predict what would happen in the human being,” said Dr. Capaldo.
The suit provides opportunity to refocus public and media attention on the unscientific use of nonhuman primates for human health studies.
In 2006, NEAVS launched Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Labs to protect the first nonhuman species from biomedical research. Much has been accomplished – including a 2013 National Institutes of Health (NIH) decision to retire nearly 90% of federally “owned” chimpanzees after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) declared them unnecessary for research.
On the heels of Project R&R’s success – and because we care about ALL animals in labs – NEAVS recently launched What About Monkeys?, our campaign spotlighting all primates. Equally deserving of the same protections as chimpanzees, all primates share similar cognitive abilities and psychological needs. Further, their genetic differences from humans make research data from them inadequate and irrelevant – just as NEAVS showed it is for chimpanzees. You can trust NEAVS is hard at work strategically focused on ending the unscientific and inhumane use of ALL primates in research.
NEAVS’ strategy includes an upcoming scientific paper showing how unnecessary and unproductive rhesus monkeys have been and always will be in some very important areas of human research. We have also, along with co-petitioners the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, filed a Rulemaking Petition asking the USDA to define what constitutes the “psychological well-being” of primates. A definition is desperately needed so this Animal Welfare Act requirement can be enforced and labs can be cited for violations.