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A great ape research ban, or severe restrictions on the use of non-human great apes in research, is currently in place in the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Austria. Austria is the only country in the world where experiments on lesser apes, the gibbons, are completely banned too.

Additional recommended knowledge

These countries have ruled that chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans are cognitively so similar to humans that using them as test subjects is unethical. Announcing the UK’s ban in 1986, the British Home Secretary said: "[T]his is a matter of morality. The cognitive and behavioural characteristics and qualities of these animals mean it is unethical to treat them as expendable for research."[1] Britain continues to use other primates in laboratories, such as macaques and marmosets.

The British newspaper, The Independent, has argued that the "demand for a comprehensive ban by the European Union on experiments involving great apes is surely unanswerable"[2]

The United States is the world's largest user of chimpanzees for biomedical research, with approximately 1,300 individuals currently in U.S. labs. A Washington-state group called Ban Ape Research (BAR) is campaigning to enact an ordinance in Seattle that would prohibit non-human great-ape experiments in that city, which would be the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to take this step.

In 2006 the permanency of the UK ban was questioned by Colin Blakemore, head of the Medical Research Council. Blakemore, while stressing he saw no "immediate need" to lift the ban, argued "that under certain circumstances, such as the emergence of a lethal pandemic virus that only affected the great apes, including man, then experiments on chimps, orang-utans and even gorillas may become necessary." The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection described Blakemore's stance as "backward-looking." [3]

See also

  • Great Ape personhood
  • Declaration on Great Apes
  • Great Ape Project
  • Primate
  • Monkey
  • Animal liberation movement
  • Animal testing


  1. ^ Helene Guldberg. "The great ape debate", Spiked online, March 29, 2001. 
  2. ^ "Ban all experiments on the higher primates", The Independent, March 28, 2001. 
  3. ^ Steve Connor. "Scientists 'should be allowed to test on apes'", The Independent, June 3, 2006. 

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Great_ape_research_ban". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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