Laboratory animals: Retirement of former lab primates
Laboratory use of primates is inevitably correlated with impairment of their welfare. AAP considers primates sentient beings with consciousness and intrinsic value, whose needs should be respected. From this ethical perspective AAP opposes the use of primates in laboratories but is aware that given the current legal, scientific and sociological landscape the use of primates is not likely to end any time soon. AAP will therefore orient its lab-related work to solutions leading to progressive decrease of the total number of primates involved.
We welcome the new legal possibility to retire animals when their laboratory lives have ended. In the Dutch Laboratory Animals Act this is called adoption, whereas the European legislation uses the term rehoming. As long as primates are used as lab animals in research, AAP considers the animals' well-being as a matter of utmost priority. At the same time AAP supports the 'yes-unless' approach: as a matter of principle retirement is considered for every laboratory animal, unless there are specific reasons not to do so. AAP believes that the authorities and the laboratories should assume responsibility for ensuring solid procedures for former laboratory animals.
AAP is not a specialist in the use of lab animals and cannot determine whether testing on monkeys and other animals is necessary or not. Testing on apes is outlawed in the Netherlands since 2002, but not yet on other primates.
AAP provides shelter for a part of the last apes of the Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC). This laboratory in Rijswijk, the Netherlands, housed 28 chimpanzees who were infected with HIV, SIV and/or hepatitis C for research purposes. The animals have been provided a separate department in AAP's Chimpanzee Complex specifically designed for their needs and financed by the Dutch state.
AAP was one of the initiators of the Manifesto for Retirement procedures for former laboratory animals.