Rosie was chemically immobilized 99 times by laboratory workers. The 29-year-old chimpanzee was finally granted a reprieve from testing in 2001, but the government recently moved her and 13 others back into laboratory cages. As a physician, I am concerned about the millions of dollars spent on decades of experiments using chimpanzees, which inflict untold pain and suffering upon these highly intelligent animals and have generally turned out to be a poor method of studying human diseases.
A few months after the 14 were transferred from Alamogordo, NIH granted 186 chimpanzees remaining at the New Mexico nonresearch facility a reprieve from further experimentation while the Institute of Medicine conducts an in-depth analysis of chimpanzee experimentation. But Rosie and her 13 companions remain at Texas Biomed, a controversial laboratory with a poor animal care record, where they have already been subjected to multiple liver biopsies and other procedures that require chemical immobilization.
The United States is the only industrialized nation still using chimpanzees for invasive experiments. I hope NIH will focus on modern methods that offer the most hope for human health —a nd allow these chimpanzees to live out their remaining years in the peace of a sanctuary.
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