should we relate to beings who look into mirrors and see themselves
as individuals, who mourn companions and may die of grief, who
have a consciousness of 'self?'
Don't they deserve to be treated with the same sort of consideration
we accord to other highly sensitive beings: ourselves?”
are an endangered species, and our closest genetic relatives.
Chimpanzee intelligence, self-awareness, social behavior and emotions
are well understood. Unfortunately, The Scripps Research Institute
continues to use these complex animals in experiments.
Animal Rights Foundation of Florida is calling upon Scripps to
commit not to participate in experiments that involve chimpanzees
or other great apes.
Chisari, M.D., is Head of Scripps' Division of Experimental Pathology.
Chisari has been at Scripps since the early 1970s, and since at
least 1973 he's been infecting chimpanzees with the hepatitis
B and C viruses.
2002 study was typical of Dr. Chisari's research using chimpanzees.
Six healthy chimpanzees were infected with hepatitis C. Blood
samples and liver biopsies were taken on a weekly basis, and the
“progress” of the virus infection was monitored. Several
chimpanzees in the study developed chronic infections.
experiments are not necessary in studying how hepatitis C infects
or affects humans. Humans and chimpanzees are very similar, yet
their few differences are very important. Chimpanzees can be infected
with hepatitis C, as they can with other viruses that infect humans,
but chimpanzees respond to the virus differently than humans.
the development of vaccines, the use of chimpanzees and other
animals has often led to misleading conclusions. Most of the approximately
1,200 chimps in U.S. labs were bred in the 1980s to be used in
AIDS research. Millions of dollars was spent in the hopes of developing
an AIDS vaccine before researchers concluded that chimpanzees
are of little value in the search for a cure (while chimps can
be infected with HIV, the virus rarely makes them ill). Sadly,
the search for a hepatitis C vaccine has long languished because
research has focused on chimpanzees and other animals.
United States is one of the only remaining countries to use chimpanzees
in research. Many countries around the world, including Great
Britain, New Zealand, Sweden, and The Netherlands, have prohibited
research on great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans).
(see “Chimps Deserve Better,” The Humane Society of the United States.)
end to Scripps' experiments on chimpanzees?
July 2005, a research team led by Dr. Chisari announced an exciting
development: a method of creating a hepatitis C virus infection
of cells in vitro (in an artificial environment).
groundbreaking cell culture system accurately replicates what
the hepatitis C virus does in the liver of infected humans.“The
lifecycle of the virus is now completely open to us,” said
Dr. Chisari. Dr. Chisari predicted the new system would contribute
to a “deeper understanding” of the hepatits C virus,
and “greatly accelerate” the search for a vaccine,
as well as drugs to treat people already infected.
does this mean for Scripps' use of chimpanzees? We hope that Dr.
Chisari will continue his research using this promising non-animal
method, and abandon the use of animals.
"Debbie" suffered for years in laboratories. She is
now living at Save
The Chimps, a sanctuary in Florida for chimpanzees rescued
from the laboratory.