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The Wrongful Treatment Of Chimpanzees Essay

1126 words - 5 pages

Jerom, a chimpanzee, was taken from his mother at a young age. Unfortunately, Jerom was part of an experiment and was infected with HIV at the age of two. Jerom spent the duration of his life in the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, which is a federally funded laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia, until he died at the age of 14. He was housed in the Chimpanzee Infectious Disease (CID) building which is isolated from the other housing and research buildings on Yerkes main property. The CID building in which Jerom was kept in was described as a small, windowless box with cement walls and no outdoor access. Reality for these chimpanzees was a grey, dark space with damp floors and walls (Weiss). Because of these living conditions, several of the chimpanzees suffered from depression and were constantly in fear. The wrongful treatment of chimpanzees has been occurring for many years and is beginning to be a major problem. The United States government needs to eliminate medical testing on chimpanzees. It is no longer needed and it ultimately decreases a chimp’s quality of life and often results in death.
Background
Behavioral studies on chimpanzees began in the United States in the 1920s. Robert M. Yerkes was the first psychologist to study the behavior of chimpanzees. When he first started studying these animals, he only concentrated on the behavioral aspects of chimpanzees. He was not interested at this time in using them for medical experiments. Later on in the 1940s was when scientists started to use chimpanzees for medical experiments. Medical studies and experimentations lasted until 1973, when President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law. “The Endangered Species Act made it illegal to import wild-caught chimpanzees into the US” (Chimps in Laboratories). Throughout the 1980s, the AIDS virus started to become more common and chimpanzees turned out to be the greatest research model to discover a cure. With this epidemic, a greater stress was put on the breeding of chimpanzees because of the importance they offered in the experiments. Medical doctors wanted to be sure that there would be an abundance of chimpanzees for the ongoing research of AIDS. Chimpanzee testing continued to grow until peaking at an all time high in the 1990s. Throughout the 1990s, “there may have been as many as 1,500 chimpanzees living in at least 11 different research laboratories across the United States” (Chimps in Laboratories). However, at this time it was discovered that humans and chimpanzees don’t always respond in the same way when given a particular treatment or medication.
Against
The experiments completed in the 1990s revealed that humans don’t always react in the same manner that chimpanzees do when being tested for AIDS. In spite of how closely related humans are with chimpanzees, humans and animals will always respond differently when being experimented on. When a doctor is testing a drug or medication on a...

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