About R&R

About R&R

Comments on Chimpanzees in Research
In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.
How 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?
Whenever an animal is somehow forced into the service of men, every one of us must be concerned for any suffering it bears on that account. No one of us may permit any preventable pain to be inflicted…. No one may appease his conscience by thinking that would be interfering in something that does not concern him. No one may shut his eyes and think the pain, which is therefore not visible to him, is non-existent.
—Albert Schweitzer, Animals, Nature and Albert Schweitzer, p. 29
He accepts as being good: to preserve life, to raise to its highest value life which is capable of development; and as being evil: to destroy life, to repress life which is capable of development. This is the absolute, fundamental principle of the moral, and it is the necessity of thought.
—Albert Schweitzer, Animals, Nature and Albert Schweitzer, p. 31
True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test, …consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
—Milan Kundera, from The Unbearable Lightness of Being
What has become of [the sign-language] chimpanzees after the conclusion of their roles as experimental subjects…? Their various journeys are a pilgrim’s progress through an ambiguous moral and scientific terrain, in which chimpanzees encounter and contend with the embodiments of the various aspects of man’s relationship with our animal nature. Indeed, …some of these involuntary pilgrims will pay with their lives for our uncertainty about who we are.
—Eugene Linden, Silent Partners, p. 8
That vivisectors can look them in the eyes, form relationships with them and still perpetrate one atrocity after another on them is testament to the amorality that science permits itself. The poor, orphans, criminal, the mentally ill, Jews, African-Americans were all some time within the vivisector’s reach. Equally disturbing is that chimpanzees still are.
—Theodora Capaldo, EdD, New England Anti-Vivisection Society
[T]he experiment was ‘almost like genocide’ and he did not shrink from declaring ‘a literal death sentence was passed on some of those people.’ Yet however much they condemned the [Tuskegee] study, health officials usually softened their criticisms by insisting that the study began when attitudes toward human experimentation were different…
—James H. Jones, Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, p.207
[O]thers [in the study] had a less clear view of what had happened and had great difficulty making any sense of the study. After commenting that he and his friends had been used as ‘guinea pigs,’ another survivor confessed: ‘I don’t know what that means…I don’t know what they used us for.’ The same man added: ‘I ain’t never understood the study.’
—James H. Jones, Bad Blood, The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, p. 219
I had bought two male chimps from a primate colony in Holland. They lived next to each other in separate cages for several months before I used one as a [heart] donor. When we put him to sleep in his cage in preparation for the operation, he chattered and cried incessantly. We attached no significance to this, but it must have made a great impression on his companion, for when we removed the body to the operating room, the other chimp wept bitterly and was inconsolable for days. The incident made a deep impression on me. I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures.
—Christiaan Barnard, MD, The world’s first human-to-human heart transplant surgeon
Compassion does not and should not stop at the imagined barriers between species…. Science that dissociates itself from the pain of others soon becomes monstrous. Good science must be conducted with the head and the heart. Biomedical doctors have strayed too far from the guiding principle of the Hippocratic oath, ‘First, do no harm.’ Hippocrates was not referring only to humans. ‘The soul is the same in all living creatures,’ he said, ‘although the body of each is different.’
—Roger Fouts, PhD, Next of Kin: What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me About Who We Are, p. 372
Here is the fundamental paradox of our treatment of the great apes in general and of chimpanzees in particular. We use them because they are so close to human; it serves our convenience to treat them as so close to an animal. Nowhere has the paradox been starker than inside many research laboratories. …
—Dale Peterson, PhD, Visions of Caliban, p. 223
…[Y]ou do not settle whether an experiment is justified or not by merely showing that it is of some use. The distinction is not between useful and useless experiments, but between barbarous and civilized behaviour. Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.
—George Bernard Shaw
The human journey is, at its core, about the extension of empathy to broader and more inclusive domains. At first, the empathy extended only to kin and tribe. Eventually it was extended to people of like-minded values—a common religion, nationality or ideology. In the 19th century, the first humane societies were established, extending the empathy to include our fellow creatures. Today, millions of people, under the banner of the animal rights movement, are continuing to deepen and to expand human concern for, and empathy toward, our fellow creatures.
—Jeremy Rifkin
It is possible to be in favor of progress, freedom of inquiry and the advancement of consciousness and still be opposed to essential elements of the prevailing scientific and technological world view….
—Jeremy Rifkin, Quoted by Newsmakers 1990
[T]his is a matter of morality. The cognitive and behavioral characteristics and qualities of these animals mean it is unethical to treat them as expendable for research.
—British Home Secretary, announcing the United Kingdom’s policy in 1997
In recent years it has become clear that the need for the use of chimpanzees for research into malaria and HIV has rapidly diminished and is of limited importance. The progression of illness in chimpanzees is starkly different from that of humans, which makes the chimpanzee an unsuitable ‘model.’
—Dutch Minister of Science Loek Hermans, in a letter to Dutch Parliament on April 26, 2001
Great apes are the animals that are most closely related to humans. It is of particular concern for me that there is this explicit prohibition. This will ensure that no such animal experiments will be carried out in the future either.
—Austrian Education, Science, and Culture Minister Elisabeth Gehrer, discussing Austria’s proposed ban on great ape research
[New Zealand’s ban on great ape research] may be a small step forward for the great apes, but it is nevertheless historic—the first time a parliament has voted in favor of changing the status of a group of animals so dramatically that the animal cannot be treated as a research tool, to be used for the benefit of humans. … This is a breakthrough for our growing awareness and capacity to show respect for our closest non-human relatives.
—Peter Singer, co-founder of the Great Ape Project

Top Δ