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By Karin Brulliard Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended the agency’s ongoing experiments on dogs Friday and said he would continue to “reauthorize” them, eight months after Congress passed legislation limiting tests that are opposed by a bipartisan cast of lawmakers and several veterans’ groups. Speaking at the National Press Club, Wilkie rejected calls to end research that he said led to the invention in the 1960s of the cardiac pacemaker and the discovery in the late 1990s of a treatment for deadly cardiac arrhythmias. These days, he said, some of the testing is focused on spinal cord injuries. “I love canines,” Wilkie said. “But we have an opportunity to change the lives of men and women who have been terribly hurt. And until somebody tells me that that research does not help in that outcome, then I’ll continue.” Wilkie’s comments drew swift backlash from lawmakers who have criticized the experiments, which occur at three VA locations and are invasive and sometimes fatal to the dogs, as cruel and unnecessary. President Trump in March signed a spending bill that included language restricting such tests, and legislation has been proposed that would end all canine research at VA. “Having sustained catastrophic injuries on the battlefield, which included the loss of both my legs, I am acutely aware of the vital role dogs play in helping troops recover from war’s physical and psychological tolls,” said Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), an Army veteran and co-sponsor of the legislation. “The VA has not executed what we wanted as intent, which is to bring this to an end in its entirety, so we will keep up the pressure." © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 25660 - Posted: 11.10.2018

By David Grimm The number of monkeys used in U.S. biomedical research reached an all-time high last year, according to data released in late September by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The uptick (see graph below)—to nearly 76,000 nonhuman primates in 2017—appears to reflect growing demand from scientists who believe nonhuman primates are more useful than other animals, such as mice or dogs, for testing drugs and studying diseases that also strike humans. “I think the numbers are trending up because these animals give us better data. … We need them more than ever,” says Jay Rappaport, director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana, which houses about 5000 monkeys. The increase also comes amidst a surge in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which supports much of the nonhuman primate research in the United States. The figures have surprised and disappointed groups seeking to reduce the use of lab animals. The biomedical community has said it is committed to reducing the use of research animals by finding replacements and using these animals more selectively, says Thomas Hartung, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing in Baltimore, Maryland. But the new numbers suggest “people are just blindly running toward the monkey model without critically evaluating how valuable it really is.” © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25639 - Posted: 11.03.2018

By Kelly Servick WASHINGTON, D.C.—A hand-size monkey called Callithrix jacchus—the common marmoset—is in great demand in labs and yet almost nowhere to be found. Marmosets’ small size, fast growth, and sophisticated social life were already enough to catch the eye of neuroscientists. They’ve now been genetically engineered to make their brains easier to image and to serve as models for neurological disorders such as autism and Parkinson’s. The problem: “There are just no monkeys,” says Cory Miller, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego. At a meeting here this week, convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM’s) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, neuroscientist Jon Levine, who directs the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, likened the surge in demand to “a 10-alarm fire that’s about to be set.” In response, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to launch funding to expand marmoset research. And established marmoset researchers, including Miller, are working together to help new labs get animals. When Miller’s lab started to work with marmosets in 2009, many colleagues who studied macaques—the most popular genus of research monkey—didn’t even know that marmosets were monkeys, he remembers. “They were like, ‘Is it those chipmunks that were in the Rocky Mountains?’” (They were thinking of marmots.) © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 25611 - Posted: 10.24.2018

Nell Greenfieldboyce Sarah Anne, a 59-year-old chimpanzee, is famous enough to have her own Wikipedia page. That's because she was captured from the wild as an infant and raised in the home of a language researcher who taught her to use symbols for words. These days, she lives at Chimp Haven, a wooded sanctuary for former research chimps in Louisiana, along with a new pal named Marie. "And Marie loves to groom with Sarah, and follows her around and gives her lots of attention. And we're seeing Sarah play with her and just being much more sociable," says Amy Fultz, who studies animal behavior and co-founded Chimp Haven in 1995. "At 59, that's a really cool thing to be able to see and watch." Their friendship shows that even very old chimps can grow and change. But it's more than just a big deal for Sarah Anne. The arrival of Marie, along with some other chimps from a research facility in New Mexico, tipped the scales in terms of where most chimps live in this country. "There are more chimps in accredited sanctuaries than there are in research facilities now," says Rana Smith, the president of Chimp Haven. That means the retirement of research chimps has reached its endgame — and this final stage is proving to be unexpectedly challenging. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced that the era of chimp biomedical research was over, and that all of its chimps remaining in research labs — nearly 400 at the time — would gradually be transferred to Chimp Haven. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25392 - Posted: 08.29.2018

Alison Abbott The two major neuroscience societies in the United States and Europe have joined forces to criticize the prestigious Max Planck Society (MPS) in Germany for its treatment of a world-renowned neuroscientist targeted by animal-rights activists. Nikos Logothetis, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI-Biocyb) in Tübingen who used to run a primate laboratory, has been charged with mistreatment of animals after allegations made by animal-rights groups. When Logothetis was indicted in February, the MPS removed many of his responsibilities relating to animal research — despite the fact that a court has not yet ruled on those charges. Logothetis, who studies how the brain makes sense of the world, denies the allegations. In a strongly worded statement posted online on 3 August, the US Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), which together represent more than 60,000 scientists, add to an outcry that has been gathering momentum since scientists at MPI-Biocyb made their concerns public in May. “FENS and SfN are extremely dismayed by the treatment of Professor Nikos Logothetis and his colleagues,” reads the joint statement. The MPS's actions set "an alarming precedent whereby institutions neglect to support affiliated scientists facing similar unproven accusations and disregard the presumption of innocence”, adds the statement. © 2018 Springer Nature Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 25309 - Posted: 08.08.2018

By David Grimm —As soon as the big yellow school bus pulls into the parking lot of the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) here, it’s clear that many of the high school students on board don’t know what they’ve signed up for. They know that science happens somewhere on this wooded, 70-hectare campus west of Portland—and that they may get to see monkeys—but everything else is a mystery. “Are we going to go into some giant underground lair?” asks a lanky sophomore in a hoodie, imagining that the center is set up like a video game or Jurassic Park. Diana Gordon is here to disabuse him of both notions. As the education and outreach coordinator of the country’s largest primate research center, she spends her days guiding students, Rotary clubs, and even wedding parties through the facility. Here, visitors see monkeys in their habitats and meet scientists—all while learning, Gordon hopes, that the animals are well-treated and the research is critical for human health. “If we don’t speak up, there’s only one side being heard,” she says. “The side that wants to shut us down.” That side has been racking up victories recently. In the past 6 months, animal activist groups have won bipartisan support in Congress to scuttle monkey and dog studies at top U.S. research facilities; they have also helped pass two state bills that compel researchers to adopt out lab animals at the end of experiments. The public itself seems to be turning against animal research: A Gallup poll released last year revealed that only 51% of U.S. adults find such studies morally acceptable, down from 65% in 2001. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Scienc

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25147 - Posted: 06.27.2018

By David Grimm The environment a laboratory animal lives in can have a dramatic impact on whether it’s a good model for human disease. A mouse that lives in a shoebox-size cage, for example, gets less exercise than its wild relatives, and thus may not be the best model for studying obesity. Enriched environments with bigger cages and more toys can help, says Garet Lahvis, but the best way to make animals good models is to take them out of the lab—and, in some cases, study them outside in the great wide world. This could be accomplished with cutting-edge electronics and remote sensors, says the behavioral neuroscientist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. He’s presenting his proposal today at the Behavior Genetics Association’s annual conference in Boston. Lahvis chatted with Science about what studying lab animals in the wild could look like, and why some researchers think it won’t happen. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Q: Why did you become interested in this idea? A: Our lab studies social behavior in mice. We’ve shown that mice have the capacity for empathy when they hear other mice getting an electrical shock, and that mice are gregarious—they like to hang out with each other. But we were studying them in these small, relatively sterile cages—not anything like they’d encounter in the wild. About 6 or 7 years ago, I started thinking, “How could it be normal for you to spend your entire life with only three other individuals in a small room? Are the mice we’re looking at really normal?” Once that door opened, I started to think about everything else that could go wrong with lab animal research. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25128 - Posted: 06.22.2018

By Meredith Wadman Breaking with a history of reticence, nearly 600 scientists, students, and lab animal workers published a letter in USA Today this morning that calls on U.S. research institutions to “embrace openness” about their animal research. “We should proudly explain how animals are used for the advancement of science and medicine, in the interest of the well-being of humans and animals,” the 592 signatories write in the letter. “From the development of insulin and transplant surgery to modern day advances, including gene therapies and cancer treatments; animals … continue to play a crucial role in both basic and applied research.” The letter was organized by the pro–animal research advocacy group Speaking of Research, which has offices in the both the United States and the United Kingdom. The group notes that four Nobel Prize–winning biologists are among the signatories: William Campbell, Mario Capecchi, Carol Greider, and Torsten Wiesel. It was also signed by students, lab technicians, veterinarians, physicians, and a few public policy experts. “I read the letter and decided within minutes that I would sign it,” says Greider, a biologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for her discovery of the enzyme telomerase. “Animal research is very important to understanding fundamental biological mechanisms.” © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25114 - Posted: 06.21.2018

By Ingfei Chen Each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly 820,800 guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and other animals covered by the Animal Welfare Act are used in research in the U.S.; of those, about 71,370 are subjected to unalleviated pain. These stats don’t track the millions of mice and rats that are used in lab experiments and excluded from the animal protection law (although the rodents are covered by other federal regulations). Scientists and their institutions say they’re committed to keeping pain or distress to a minimum in lab animals where they can. But how do you know how much pain a mouse or a zebrafish feels? And who decides how much pain is too much? “We know if they’re in really bad pain, as much as they want a nice nest, they’re not gonna put the work into doing that.” The issue of animal suffering was in the headlines earlier this year, when landlocked Switzerland banned the culinary practice of boiling lobsters alive. No one knows for sure whether these big-clawed crustaceans, equipped with only a rudimentary nervous system, experience pain. Nonetheless, Swiss authorities now require stunning lobsters in a humane way before tossing them into the pot. I read of this milestone in crustacean rights with bemused fascination and anthropomorphic cringing, as I imagined the lobster’s hypothetical plight. But the Swiss move also made me wonder how scientists measure and deal with animal pain in research studies. Experiments that use critters to simulate human illness or injury are stepping stones to the medical treatments we all use. Yet, the benefits we reap must outweigh the costs to animal welfare for those sacrifices to be justified, ethicists and animal advocates say. Copyright 2018 Undark

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 8: General Principles of Sensory Processing, Touch, and Pain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 25061 - Posted: 06.06.2018

Alison Abbott Scientists at one of Germany’s leading neuroscience institutes say that their employer, the Max Planck Society (MPS), is failing in its responsibility to defend the institute’s scientists against efforts by animal-rights activists to disrupt research. The criticisms are outlined in two letters to MPS leadership seen by Nature, and in interviews with scientists. They relate to the MPS’s handling of a struggle between animal-rights activists and Nikos Logothetis, a world-renowned neuroscientist who has been a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI-Biocyb) in Tübingen since 1996. An expert in visual reception, Logothetis studies how the brain makes sense of the world, and used to run a primate laboratory at MPI-Biocyb. The MPS, which has an annual public budget of €1.8 billion (US$2.1 billion), is Germany’s most prestigious research organization, and runs 84 research institutes and facilities. The struggle began in September 2014, when a German television channel aired footage taken by an undercover animal-welfare activist who had infiltrated Logothetis’s lab, purporting to show mistreatment of research monkeys. Death threats and insults to Logothetis and his family followed — and in 2015, Logothetis decided to wind down his primate lab and replace it with a rodent facility. Events came to a head on 20 February this year, when Logothetis was indicted for allegedly violating animal-protection laws, after an animal-welfare group made complaints to police on the basis of the 2014 footage. Logothetis denies the charges. A trial date has not yet been set. © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited,

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25039 - Posted: 05.31.2018

By Victoria Gill Science correspondent, BBC News Scientists working with dolphins at a marine park near Paris have attempted to measure how the animals feel about aspects of their lives in captivity. In what researchers say is the first project to examine captivity "from the animals' perspective", the team assessed what activities dolphins looked forward to most. They found that the marine mammals most keenly anticipated interacting with a familiar human. The results, they say, show that "better human-animal bonds equals better welfare". The study, published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, was part of a three-year project to measure dolphin welfare in a captive setting. Lead researcher Dr Isabella Clegg worked at Parc Astérix, a theme park with one of France's largest dolphinariums. With colleagues at the University of Paris animal behaviour lab, she designed experiments to decode dolphin behaviour - essentially looking for physical postures that indicate how the animals were feeling. "We wanted to find out what activities in captivity they like most," Dr Clegg told the BBC. To work this out, she tested three activities: a trainer coming and playing with dolphins; adding toys to the pool; and a control, which meant leaving the dolphins to their own devices. "We found a really interesting result - all dolphins look forward most to interacting with a familiar human," Dr Clegg said. The animals showed this anticipation by "spy hopping", the action of peering above the surface and looking in the direction that trainers usually approached from. The dolphins would also increase their level of activity in the pool and spend more time at the edge. "We've seen this same thing in other zoo animals and in farm animals," said Dr Clegg, adding: "Better human-animal bonds equals better welfare." © 2018 BBC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 25028 - Posted: 05.29.2018

by Karin Brulliard For several years, an animal rights organization has sought to convince New York courts that chimpanzees kept by private owners are “legal persons” with a right to be free. For several years, the courts have rejected that argument. New York’s highest court did the same on Tuesday, denying an appeal of a lower court’s refusal to grant writs of habeas corpus to two caged chimps named Tommy and Kiko. But in a striking concurring opinion that was cheered by the chimps’ advocates, one judge wrote that the legal question at the heart of the case — whether all animals are mere property or things — is far from settled. “Does an intelligent nonhuman animal who thinks and plans and appreciates life as human beings do have the right to the protection of the law against arbitrary cruelties and enforced detentions visited on him or her?” wrote Eugene Fahey, one of five Court of Appeals judges who ruled on the matter. “This is not merely a definitional question, but a deep dilemma of ethics and policy that demands our attention.” The 5-to-0 vote upheld a June decision by a lower appeals court that, like courts before it, ruled that chimpanzees could not be legal persons because they cannot take on legal duties. The Nonhuman Rights Project, which has asked courts to move Tommy and Kiko to a sanctuary, says the interpretation is flawed. The group’s director, Steven M. Wise, has noted in interviews that both infants or comatose people possess rights despite an inability to assume legal duties and that primate experts say chimps have rights and responsibilities within peer groups and in settings with humans. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24956 - Posted: 05.10.2018

By Vanessa Zainzinger Two years ago, when the U.S. Congress approved a major rewrite of the nation’s chemical safety law, lawmakers ordered federal regulators to take steps to reduce the number of animals that companies use to test compounds for safety. But a recent analysis by two animal welfare groups found that the number of animal tests requested or required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jumped dramatically last year, from just a few dozen tests involving fewer than 7000 animals in 2016, to more than 300 tests involving some 75,000 rats, rabbits, and other vertebrates. The cause of the increase isn’t clear. But the new law imposes stricter requirements on a broader array of chemicals than its predecessor, including both new products and ones already on the market, and experts say EPA staff may be trying to comply by gathering more test data from companies. Both industry and animal welfare groups are alarmed by the trend, and are asking agency officials to clarify why they are requesting the tests—and how they plan to reduce the number in the future. In a 27 March letter to EPA officials, the two Washington, D.C.–based groups that produced the analysis—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)—wrote that the “appalling” number of animals being used in tests “indicates EPA is failing to balance” its responsibility to evaluate chemicals’ risks against its obligation to pursue alternatives to animal testing. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24954 - Posted: 05.09.2018

By Jeff Sebo You might be aware that chimpanzees can recognize themselves in a mirror, communicate through sign language, pursue goals creatively and form long-lasting friendships. You might also think that these are the kinds of things that a person can do. However, you might not think of chimpanzees as persons. The Nonhuman Rights Project does. Since 2013, the group has been working on behalf of two chimpanzees, Kiko and Tommy, currently being held in cages by their “owners” without the company of other chimpanzees. It is asking the courts to rule that Kiko and Tommy have the right to bodily liberty and to order their immediate release into a sanctuary where they can live out the rest of their lives with other chimpanzees. The problem is that under current United States law, one is either a “person” or a “thing.” There is no third option. If you are a person, you have the capacity for rights, including the right to habeas corpus relief, which protects you from unlawful confinement. If you are a thing, you do not have the capacity for rights. And unfortunately, even though they are sensitive, intelligent, social beings, Kiko and Tommy are considered things under the law. In response, the Nonhuman Rights Project is taking a bold position: It is arguing that if every being must be either a person or a thing, then Kiko and Tommy are persons, not things. I agree, and many other philosophers do, too. In February, a group of philosophers, including me, submitted an amicus curiae brief to the New York Court of Appeals in support of legal personhood for Kiko and Tommy. (Members of the group contributed to this article as well.) The court is considering whether to allow the case to proceed. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24838 - Posted: 04.09.2018

Dr Sarah Bailey If you have ever taken a medicine, you have benefited from the humane use of animals in medical research. My research at the University of Bath focuses on understanding how the brain responds to stress and how we can use that knowledge to develop new and better antidepressants. We use mice to study how their behaviour changes in response to stress, or potential new drug treatments, and then we analyse their brains to identify affected brain circuits and the molecules involved in those behaviours. Over four million UK adults experience depression at any one time, and only around half of those will respond to the existing medications. There is a vital need to understand more about the brain mechanisms that cause depression in order to develop new and better antidepressants. Animal research plays a key role in this. In the UK the Home Office regulates animal research under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. At the heart of the legislation is the humane treatment of animals. This is enshrined in “the 3Rs” that regulate all research conducted with animals in the UK – replacement, reduction and refinement. Replacement: the act does not allow animal research to be done where alternatives exist. ● Reduction: the minimum number of animals is used to obtain valid results for any experiment. ● Refinement: all techniques, from picking up an animal to a simple injection, must be done in a way that minimises animal suffering and emphasises the welfare of the animal. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24824 - Posted: 04.06.2018

By Danna Staaf "You're doing your surgery, but you don't know if the animal still feels it and you've just stolen its ability to respond," says biologist Robyn Crook of San Francisco State University (SFSU) in California. Until recently, researchers working with octopuses, squids, and other cephalopods routinely faced this dilemma, an ethical and, in some cases, legal challenge to studying these intelligent creatures in the laboratory. But Crook has now shown that both ordinary alcohol and magnesium chloride are effective anesthetics—crucial information for scientists pursuing cephalopod research. Cephalopods might not seem to be ideal laboratory animals. They're exclusively marine, so a complex seawater system is needed to keep them alive, and they're disinclined to stay put—octopuses can escape through minuscule holes, while squids may jet right out of their tanks. But their unique biology and behavior have made them indispensable to researchers in many fields. Studies of the squid's giant axon helped spawn modern neuroscience decades ago, and the light organ of the bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) powered a revolution in the study of symbiotic host-microbe interactions. Today, some researchers are studying how the animals accomplish their striking feats of regeneration, while others use them in ecotoxicology studies; cephalopods even guide research into the origins of consciousness. Because of their complex brains, cephalopods became the first invertebrates to be protected by laboratory animal laws. In 1991, the Canadian Council on Animal Care decided to extend the standards for vertebrate care to cephalopods, meaning, among other things, that researchers have to get ethical approval for their studies and must use anesthesia, when possible, for procedures that could cause pain. Since then, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and some Australian states have passed similar regulations. The biggest expansion of cephalopod rights came in 2013, when an EU-wide directive gave them the same protections as vertebrates in scientific studies in 28 countries. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science. A

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 24823 - Posted: 04.06.2018

By David Grimm After years of experiments, a protracted battle to grant them legal “personhood,” and a life spent bouncing between two scientific facilities, two of the world’s most famous research chimpanzees have finally retired. Hercules and Leo arrived this morning at Project Chimps, a 95-hectare sanctuary in the wooded hills of Morgantown, Georgia. In many ways, the pair had also become the face of a tortuously slow effort to move hundreds of the United States’s remaining research chimpanzees to wildlife refuges. Their arrival at Project Chimps suggests plans to retire these animals—which can live up to 50 years in captivity—may be back on track. “For the first time, there are more chimpanzees in sanctuaries than there are in labs,” says Stephen Ross, director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, and board chair of Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana, the only sanctuary authorized to take government-owned chimps. “Hercules and Leo are representative of a movement that’s finally bearing fruit.” Hercules and Leo were born in 2006 at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, home to the world’s largest collection of privately owned lab chimps. In 2011, New Iberia loaned the duo out to the State University of New York in Stony Brook. There, they lived in a three-room enclosure and researchers inserted small electrodes into their muscles to study the evolution of bipedal walking. While there, the Nonhuman Rights Project—an animal rights group based in Coral Springs, Florida—filed a lawsuit to have Hercules and Leo declared legal persons and moved to a sanctuary in Florida. Despite multiple appeals over 2 years, the effort failed, and the chimps were shipped back to New Iberia in 2015. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Scienc

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24778 - Posted: 03.22.2018

By JAMES GORMAN Recently someone (my boss, actually) mentioned to me that I wrote more articles about dogs than I did about cats and asked why. My first thought, naturally, was that it had nothing to do with the fact that I have owned numerous dogs and no cats, but rather reflected the amount of research done by scientists on the animals. After all, I’ll write about any interesting findings, and I like cats just fine, even if I am a dog person. Two of my adult children have cats, and I would hate for them to think I was paying them insufficient attention. (Hello Bailey! Hello Tawny! — Those are the cats, not the children.) But I figured I should do some reporting, so I emailed Elinor Karlsson at the Broad Institute and the University of Massachusetts. She is a geneticist who owns three cats, but does much of her research on dogs — the perfect unbiased observer. Her research, by the way, is about dog genomes. She gets dog DNA from owners who send in their pets’ saliva samples. The research I have been interested in and writing about involves evolution, domestication, current genetics and behavior. And the questions are of the What-is-a-dog-really? variety. Dogs and cats have also been used as laboratory animals in invasive experiments, but I wasn’t asking about which animal is more popular for those. I had gotten to know Dr. Karlsson a bit while reporting on research she was doing on wolves. I asked her whether there was indeed more research on dogs than cats, and if so, why? “Ooo, that is an interesting question!” she wrote back. “Way more interesting than the various grant-related emails that are filling up my inbox. “The research has lagged behind in cats. I think they’re taken less seriously than dogs, probably to do with societal biases. I have a vet in my group who thinks that many of the cancers in cats may actually be better models for human cancer, but there has been almost no research into them.” Better models than cancers in dogs, that is. Dogs do get many of the same cancers as humans, but in dogs the risk for these cancers often varies by breed, which narrows the target down when looking for the cause of a disease. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24694 - Posted: 02.26.2018

By David Grimm ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN—If they weren't in the windowless basement of a cavernous biomedical research building, the "Aquatic Suites" might sound like a cushy vacation destination. But the zebrafish here at the University of Michigan (UM) still have it pretty good. In a large room full of aquaria, the striped, pinkie-size swimmers flit past fake green plants, white plastic tunnels, and multicolored marbles that may remind them of the bottoms of lakes and streams. These simple accoutrements are a luxury for creatures typically housed with little more than food and the water they swim in. And the enrichments may make the animals better at what they do: serving as important models for human disease. For decades, lab animals such as rodents and fish have lived in barren enclosures: a small plastic box, few—if any—companions, and little else. The smaller the number of variables, the thinking went, the greater the accuracy of the experiment. But a growing number of studies suggests that this approach may have backfired. Only one in nine drugs that works in animals ever succeeds in human clinical trials, and labs often struggle to reproduce one another's results. Could the environment these creatures live in be part of the problem? That's what a new group of advocates argues. "We're trying to control these animals so much, they're no longer useful," says Joseph Garner, a behavioral scientist who runs a program to improve the value and welfare of lab animals at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. "If we want animals to tell us about stuff that's going to happen in people, we need to treat them more like people." © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24630 - Posted: 02.08.2018

Sara Reardon The research chimpanzees owned or supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are ready to retire — but nearly 300 are still stuck in 3 US research facilities, awaiting spots at the country’s only federally funded sanctuary. Moving has proved too much for some of the chimps that have already been relocated, most of which were elderly or had chronic diseases. And in the wake of multiple deaths of sanctuary newcomers between 2015 and 2016, the agency is now rethinking how it assesses the primates’ fitness for travel. The NIH will form a working group to develop recommendations for veterinarians to consider when determining whether or not to move a chimpanzee, said James Anderson, director of the NIH’s Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, at an advisory-council meeting on 26 January in Bethesda, Maryland. “We will move every chimp that is possible while respecting its welfare,” Anderson told the group. The announcement suggests that the NIH might be reassessing its chimp-retirement plans, which have been criticized by scientists who want to continue using the animals in non-invasive research, and by groups who think that the agency is moving too slowly on relocation. Only 78 have been transferred to the sanctuary since 2015. Under US law, the government’s retired chimps can be moved only to a federally funded sanctuary, and just one such facility exists: Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana. According to the NIH’s retirement plans, all of its chimps would be relocated to the sanctuary by 2026 (see ‘Research chimpanzees’). © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited,

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 24598 - Posted: 02.01.2018