The Experiments On Great Apes

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Experiments on Great Apes Humans and great apes (including chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and bonobos) are part of the family Hominidae (Moyà-Solà). Among them is a shared common ancestor, therefore many similar traits can be found. Chimpanzees specifically, are humans’ closest living genetic relative and they share about 99% of our DNA (Gibbons). Chimpanzees are so similar to humans that they can be infected with nearly all the same humans diseases. This similarity has led many researchers to use chimpanzees and other great apes in biomedical experiments. The United States first started experimenting on chimpanzees in the early 1920s, by purchasing kidnapped baby chimpanzees from Africa (Chimps in Laboratories). From there a wide range of experiments proceeded without much regulation. Great apes were used to develop vaccines by modeling almost every infectious human disease (Chimps in Laboratories). They were used in tests to assess brain and skull damage, heart transplants, alcohol, brain tissue, maternal separation and isolation (Chimps in Laboratories). In the beginning people did not think about the the suffering great apes went through. They were just thought of as experiments that lead to breakthroughs in human knowledge, but today animal testing has become a very controversial topic. As people learn more about the physical and mental trauma animal test subjects go through people consider the morality of their actions. There is considerable disagreement as to whether the harm on great apes caused by experiments outweigh the necessity to find cures and gain knowledge. Even researchers themselves find it difficult to come to a conclusion. Roscoe Bartlett a researcher who originally used great apes in exper... ... middle of paper ... ...ny people would judge this as a necessary evil disproving Bartlett’s third premise. Currently almost 200 million people have contracted hepatitis C and chimpanzee research will also help them (Chimps in Research). Not only does the research help humans it also helps the great apes themselves. Thousands of chimpanzees and gorillas found in the wild have died because of Ebola, but research has led to a vaccine for them (Talman). The benefit from biomedical research on great apes could not be achieved as quickly or in some cases at all if such research was banned. In the future of new, emerging or re-emerging disease scientists need to have animals like chimpanzees to help find cures. Bartlett fails to prove that chimpanzee experiments are unnecessary. Therefore, one may consider that in times of necessity, it is not completely immoral to experiment on great apes.

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