Abstract # 232:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 02:30 PM-02:40 PM: Session 25 (Del Mar Room) Oral Presentation


J. M. Erwin1,2,3 and P. R. Hof4
1Foundation for Comparative and Conservation Biology, 4139 Gem Bridge Road, Needmore, PA 17238, USA, 2Foundation for Comparative and Conservation Biology, 3VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, 4Mount Sinai School of Medicine
     Scientists are ethically obligated to use the powerful methods of science for the benefit of humans and other living things (Erwin, 1992 & 2002). Due consideration of the physical and psychosocial requirements of humans and other animals requires objective knowledge, as well as sensitivity and understanding. Research obtains fundamental information on individuals and populations that can be used to promote individual health and to sustain populations. One of the challenges faced by scientists is assuring that scientific procedures do not harm the individuals or populations being studied. Methods that are harmful or reactive must be discarded in favor of appropriate and valid treatment of research subjects. Chimpanzees and other great apes present special ethical challenges. The following issues regarding chimpanzee involvement in research are discussed in this presentation: capture from the wild; conditions of captivity; psychological similarity to humans; informed or voluntary consent; research access; infectious disease research; management of reproduction; retirement; definitions of "invasive" research; and use of post-mortem tissues. These matters are discussed in the context of proposals to legally prohibit research involving chimpanzees. The case is made here that best the ethical practice for research involving human and nonhuman primates is to improve care, conditions, and procedures, rather than to abandon research and retreat into ignorance of individuals from whom beneficial knowledge could have been humanely obtained.