Politicians Virtue Signal Over Animal Tests Involving Primates

At a U.S. House hearing yesterday, Democrat and Republican politicians decided to try to virtue signal over medical tests at National Institute of Health laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland involving the study of neurological responses by macaques monkeys to rubber snakes and spiders.

Other methods used in the tests are disturbing, but they were obtained by the animal rights group White Coat Waste Project. According to NBC:

“The scientists damaged various parts of the monkeys’ brains to gauge what effect the damage had on their responses, the studies say. Some had parts of their brains removed surgically, while others had parts of their brains damaged with acid injections.”

“In the nature documentary experiments, which have cost over $10 million since 2007, some of the rhesus monkeys also had “custom-designed fiberglass headposts” implanted on their skulls to immobilize their heads while scientists tracked their eyes, the study says.”

However, there is this bit of information that lawmakers seem to be uninterested in:

“The experiments looking into how the macaques react to the rubber snakes and spiders is aimed at providing “insights into the neural regulation of defensive responses to threat and inform the etiology and treatment of anxiety disorders in humans,” the study says.”

Despite Democrat and Republican politicians questioning the need for the tests and wanting more humane treatment of the monkeys, with NIH Director Francis Collins responded saying the tests:

“…helped scientists understand how the brain copes with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“Monkeys are used in research because of their marked similarities to humans with respect to anatomy, physiology, and behavior,” the agency said in a statement to NBC News.

“Testing procedures produce a range of animal responses, mirroring human traits and attributes, ranging from no response to momentary and transient anxiety. Each animal’s well-being was closely monitored during and after testing by experienced and trained animal care staff and veterinarians. The procedures under question resulted in no harm to any of the animals tested.”

Of course methods should be developed to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate using animals for medical experimentation. However, there are times researchers have no alternative since computer models and other means can result in limited or inadequate results. The money spent on these tests is worth every penny.

Groups, like the White Coat Waste Project and their allies in Congress could care less about any of this, much less the hundreds of thousands of human lives saved thanks to developing medicines and therapies resulting from vivisection. Politicians posture to be on the six o’clock news, while animal rights groups seek to undermine medical science resulting in more human deaths.