In a new letter published in the journal Blood, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) calls for greater diligence by the scientific community to ensure that new papers reporting experiments on chimpanzees acknowledge the Institute of Medicine's landmark 2011 report "Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity." The IOM concluded that, "most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary."
The letter responded to an article in Blood reporting a study in which two chimpanzees were infected with Hepatitis C, a disease area in which the IOM did not deem chimpanzee use necessary. The authors did not mention the IOM report or its findings. Since the publication of the IOM report in December 2011, numerous other journals have published disease studies on chimpanzees that do not mention the relevant IOM findings.
In the Blood letter, PETA Associate Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman stated, "Authors, peer-reviewers and editors must ensure that findings like those of the IOM are addressed in relevant manuscripts in order to prevent replication or extension of work that could subject additional chimpanzees to pain and distress when they have been deemed unnecessary to the research in question. One need not look any further than the IOM report to appreciate that experiments on chimpanzees have clearly continued despite having limited utility and the existence of valid alternatives."
A commentary by Goodman on the issue was also published in the Hastings Center's Bioethics Forum in July.
Following discussions with PETA, the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Gastroenterology have added editorial notes referencing the IOM report to recent manuscripts.
Earlier this month, PETA sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health's Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research requesting that it issue a directive requiring that all publications reporting federally-funded experiments on chimpanzees acknowledge the IOM report, the conclusions of which NIH fully accepted.
Link to full-text of Blood letter: http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/119/26/6326/reply#bloodjournal_el_7220
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