Using Monkeys in Medical Experiments

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12/17/11

Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context - Document

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Using Monkeys in Medical Experimentation Is Justifiable
Animal Experimentation , 2009

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"Hot Science: Monkeys and Brain Research," RDS (Research Defence Society), www.rds-online.org.uk, accessed June 23, 2008. Reproduced by permission. The Research Defence Society (RDS) is the UK organization representing medical researchers in the public debate about the use of animals in medical research. Although monkeys are currently used for very few experiments, they remain an important part of neuroscience research. Most monkeys used in research are treated well: they are bred specifically for experimentation and are housed in environments that allow both interaction with other monkeys and participation in normal behavior (foraging, climbing, etc.). The primary reason that monkeys continue to be used in research rests upon the similarity between monkey and human brains. Animal experiments that rely on monkeys allow researchers to better understand how Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, along with drug addiction and schizophrenia, affect the human brain. Through experiments with monkeys, scientists have made advances in all of these fields that have greatly benefited humans. Much of what we know about the human brain comes from neuroscience research on monkeys. Given our present state of knowledge, research on monkeys is likely to be necessary for the foreseeable future. We have too little detail about how the human brain is organised for computer models of the brain to be of great use at this stage. But, where non-animal methods can be used, it is illegal to use animals. It is also important to note that our closest cousins, great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans), haven't been used in UK research for at least 20 years and their use is now banned.

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Monkeys in UK Research Why Are Monkeys Used? Organisation of the Brain Brain and Behaviour Alzheimer's Disease Parkinson's Disease Drug Addiction and Schizophrenia

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Medical research Drug abuse Alzheimer's disease Schizophrenia Brain research More

Monkeys in UK Research
Most research animals are rodents: monkeys are required in less than one fifth of one percent (ie about one in 700) of animal experiments in the UK. Only a fraction of these are used in neuroscience research. When it is necessary to use monkeys, they are normally purpose-bred in approved centres. Although wildcaught monkeys may be used in very exceptional circumstances, this has not happened for several years. It is now standard practice to house research monkeys in social groups, and to provide them with plenty of space and a stimulating and diverse environments. This means they can carry out their full range of normal behaviour such as foraging for food, climbing, swinging and grooming. As far as possible, pain and distress [are] avoided, for instance by using non-invasive procedures or training monkeys to cooperate with their human carers. Indeed, in most neuroscience studies the active and voluntary participation of the monkey is essential, so it is very much in the interest of the researcher to make the study as rewarding as possible for the monkey.

Why Are Monkeys Used?

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12/17/11

Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context - Document

Our understanding of the functioning of nerve cells has been based on animals such as the rat and even invertebrates such as squid, but the organisation of these nerve cells to form complex systems in the brain cannot be understood without studying...
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