Letter: Chimps deserve better treatment

The research presented at the “Primate Theory of the Mind” lecture only further adds to the wealth of observations of chimpanzee intellect, emotions and culture once only relegated to humans (“Chimps, people think alike,” 11/ 10). Unfortunately, despite this evidence, approximately 1,200 chimpanzees — some once free and wild in Africa — are still being held, many for decades now, in American laboratories.

But there is hope for those chimpanzees remaining in labs. Mounting public opposition to invasive research conducted on chimpanzees and the extremely high financial and ethical costs of keeping them in labs already have led to a noticeable decline in their use. The writing is on the wall: The United States needs to end the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and testing — because chimps deserve better.

Kathleen Conlee

The writer is the director of program management for animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States.

Comments

  • Spherical Cow

    This was an excellent letter.

    Chimpanzees deserve to be treated as conscious beings rather objects on whom we impose our will. But, it should not stop there. At the very least, all primates should be treated as co-equals.

    What's bizzare is that in many ways we treat our pets — dogs and cats — significantly better than we treat primates.