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By David Grimm More than 3 years after it hosted a workshop on the science and ethics of biomedical studies on monkeys, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this week convened another workshop on nonhuman primate research. And much like the previous event, the meeting is drawing sharply divergent reactions from biomedical and animal advocacy groups. “It was a very good look at the opportunities and challenges of doing this type of research,” says Alice Ra’anan, director of government relations and science policy at the American Physiological Society, a group that represents nearly 10,000 scientists, doctors, and veterinarians. It was “an excellent and robust discussion around fostering rigorous research in nonhuman primates,” adds Matthew Bailey, president of that National Association for Biomedical Research. But Emily Trunnell, a research associate at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights group, counters that the event was a wasted opportunity to talk about the ethics of using nonhuman primates in the first place. “It was just a bunch of scientists clamoring for more money and more monkeys.” The workshop comes at a time when scientists are using a near-record number of rhesus macaques, marmosets, and other nonhuman primates in biomedical research. The animals, many researchers say, have become increasingly important in revealing how the human brain works and in developing treatments for infectious diseases. There’s been a particular surge in demand for marmosets, which are being genetically engineered to serve as models for autism, Parkinson’s, and other neurological disorders. © 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 27059 - Posted: 02.21.2020

Alison Abbott The use of animals in scientific research seems to be declining in the European Union, according to statistics gathered by the European Commission. The figures come from the first report on the state of animal research in the bloc since the introduction of tougher regulations 7 years ago. The report — published on 6 February — reviews the impact of an animal-research directive, legislation that was designed to reduce the use of animals in research and minimize their suffering. The directive, which came into effect in 2013, is widely considered to be one of the world’s toughest on animal research. According to the report, 9.39 million animals were used for scientific purposes in 2017 — the most recent year for which data have been collated — compared with 9.59 million in 2015. From 2015 to 2016, however, there was a slight increase, to 9.82 million. The report acknowledges that this prevents the confirmation of a clear decrease. But it concludes that, when compared with figures from before the directive came into force, the numbers suggest “a clear positive development”. In 2017, more than two-thirds of animals were used in basic or applied research (45% and 23%, respectively), and around one-quarter (23%) were involved in the testing of drugs and other chemicals to meet regulatory requirements. Other uses included the routine production of biological agents such as vaccines; teaching; and forensic investigations (see ‘Animals in science’). More than 60% of the animals used in 2017 were mice, 12% were rats, 13% were fish and 6% were birds. Dogs, cats and non-human primates made up just 0.3% of the total. © 2020 Springer Nature Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 27039 - Posted: 02.14.2020

By Gretchen Vogel A prominent neuroscientist whose German lab was targeted by animal rights activists is heading to China, where he says he will be freer to pursue his work on macaques and other monkeys. Nikos Logothetis, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, told colleagues last week that the first members of his lab would move in the coming months to a new International Center for Primate Brain Research (ICPBR) in Shanghai, which he will co-direct with neuroscientist Poo Mu-Ming, scientific director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’s Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology. Logothetis says he will follow as soon as remaining lab members have finished their projects, likely by late 2020 or early 2021. The Chinese institute is building a new facility in Shanghai’s Songjiang district, which will house as many as 6000 nonhuman primates, including many transgenic monkeys. “Scientifically it’s incredible,” he says. “They have excellent groups working with CRISPR and genetic engineering.” And, he adds, the acceptance of nonhuman primate research by authorities and the public in China is much higher than in Europe. They “know that no other brain (besides that of humans themselves) can be a true help in making progress.” The move is another sign that China’s investment in neuroscience research, especially involving primates, is paying off, says Stefan Treue, a neuroscientist and director of the German Primate Center. “China has made incredible progress in an unbelievably short period of time. That is the positive side of a political system that is able to move very quickly,” he says. “The combination of political will and necessary resources mean that they have put together an impressive collection of neuroscientists.” © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 27000 - Posted: 01.28.2020

Diana Kwon A few years ago, officials at Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office approached Hanno Würbel, the head of the animal welfare division at the University of Bern, with the task of examining the quality of experimental design in the country’s animal research. Growing public awareness of the reproducibility crisis in science—which has emerged as researchers discover that a large proportion of scientific results cannot be replicated in subsequent experiments—had put pressure on the government authority to examine this issue, Würbel says. “They wanted to know, what is the situation in Switzerland . . . and is there anything that we need to improve?” To address this question, Würbel and his colleagues examined scientific protocols in 1,277 applications for licenses to conduct animal research that were submitted to and approved by the Swiss Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO). Their analysis, published in PLOS Biology in 2016, concluded that most of the experiments described in approved applications lacked scientific rigor. Only a fraction of the protocols included important measures against bias, such as blinding, randomization, or a clear plan for statistical analysis. It’s now one of several studies that have pointed to critical flaws in the way animal experiments are designed—and many researchers argue that these flaws are major contributors to the reproducibility crisis plaguing published pre-clinical research. In 2011, for example, scientists at the pharmaceutical company Bayer reported that they were unable to reproduce the findings from 43 of 67 projects on potential drug targets in oncology, cardiology, and women’s health. Meanwhile, a 2015 PLOS Biology paper reported that more than 50 percent of preclinical research is not reproducible. The latter study’s authors highlighted poor experimental design as one of the main causes of the problem and estimated that, in the United States alone, approximately $28 billion is spent each year on preclinical experiments that cannot be replicated. © 1986–2019 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 26606 - Posted: 09.13.2019

Nell Greenfieldboyce The Environmental Protection Agency says it will aggressively reduce the use of animals in toxicity testing, with a goal of eliminating all routine safety tests on mammals by 2035. Chemicals such as pesticides typically get tested for safety on animals like mice and rats. Researchers have long been trying to instead increase the use of alternative safety tests that rely on lab-grown cells or computer modeling. The EPA's administer, Andrew Wheeler, has now set some specific deadlines to try to speed up that transition. Federal Watchdog Warns EPA Is Failing To Enforce Lead Paint Abatement Rules Shots - Health News Federal Watchdog Warns EPA Is Failing To Enforce Lead Paint Abatement Rules In a signed memo made public Tuesday, he's directed the agency to reduce all requests for, and funding of, studies with live mammals by 30 percent by 2025. He says he wants the agency to essentially eliminate all mammal study requests and funding by 2035, with the use of live mammals only allowed after that with special permission. "I really do think that with the lead time that we have in this — 16 years before we completely eliminate animal testing — that we have enough time to come up with alternatives," says Wheeler. He notes that he wrote an op-ed for his college newspaper on the need to reduce animal testing back in 1987. © 2019 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 26598 - Posted: 09.11.2019

By Alison Abbott Marco Tamietto was aware that animal rights activists might target him after his team won ethical approval for an experiment in monkeys on blindness. But he hadn’t anticipated the threats of violence. “I found photographs of my face, my mobile phone number, and home address on Facebook posts,” he says, “with messages like: ‘We will find you and kill you.’” Tamietto, a neuroscientist at the University of Turin in Italy, is under police protection. Now, his colleagues may face similar threats. He learned this month that the Italian Ministry of Health, which approved the experiment in October 2018, has released the names and university affiliations of others involved in the study to Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), an animal rights group in Rome. “It’s unpleasant that a public office would do such a thing,” says Roberto Caminiti, a neuroscientist at Sapienza University of Rome whose monkey lab was filmed by undercover activists in 2014. “And paradoxical that the ministry that authorized the research would actually expose those doing the research to danger.” Lawyers at the University of Turin and University of Parma—where the monkey experiments will be carried out—say they are considering civil proceedings in relation to the leak of sensitive information and intellectual property associated with the experimental protocols. Animal research regulations in Italy are already the strictest in Europe. Yet in the past few years, activists have pressed their advantage. Tamietto’s case is a sign that they have a sympathetic ear in government: Minister of Health Giulia Grillo, a member of the populist Five Star party and a declared friend of animal rights groups. © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook; Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior; Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 26529 - Posted: 08.22.2019

Sara Reardon The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be required to reduce its use of non-human primates in research, under a spending bill approved on 8 May by a committee in the US House of Representatives. The bill would direct the NIH “to accelerate efforts to reduce and replace the use of nonhuman primates with alternative research models” in its laboratories. It would apply to the 2020 budget year, which begins on 1 October, 2019. The agency would also be required to produce a report on the number and purpose of primates it uses in research, the amount of pain they feel and a timeline for replacing and retiring the animals. To become law, the bill would need to win approval from the full House, the Senate and President Donald Trump. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (Democrat, California), who has worked for years to curb and regulate animal research, added the provision to the spending legislation for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIH’s parent. Roybal-Allard and three other members of Congress requested a bioethical review of experiments involving baby monkeys at an NIH lab in 2014. The review resulted in adjustments to some of the procedures involving the animals. The agency ended those studies in late 2015.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 26223 - Posted: 05.10.2019

Cindy Buckmaster Wasteful, outdated, and unnecessary. These are three of the most common claims voiced by animal rights groups about the use of animals in research. Are they accurate? Not in the least. Countless published papers and medical advancements demonstrate how animal studies lead to medical progress. But despite this reality, public opinion is no longer solidly behind science. Pew Research Center polling data from 2018 showed that only 47 percent of Americans are in favor of the use of animals in scientific research. This compares to 52 percent in 2009. Another recent poll, this time from Gallup, showed slightly more encouraging results. In 2018, 54 percent of respondents said medical testing in animals is morally acceptable. That’s down from 62 percent in 2004. Based on these sobering statistics, it’s abundantly clear that the science community needs to try a new communications approach. For several decades, most research organizations have shied away from sharing anything but the most minimal details about the role of animals in advancing human and veterinary medicine. This decision was historically based in part on security concerns. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, a small group of animal extremists targeted individual scientists with harassment, home protests, and even firebombs and arson attacks. Thankfully, those days appear to be behind us. © 1986 - 2019 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 26136 - Posted: 04.13.2019

Diana Kwon When Adriano Aguzzi, a neuropathologist at the University of Zurich, learned that the application to renew his lab’s license for mouse experiments was rejected in December, he was stunned. Aguzzi uses rodents to investigate prions—misfolded proteins that cause fatal neurodegenerative disorders such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease—and for the last two decades, he has successfully received authorization to conduct studies that involve inoculating animals with prions and monitoring their vital signs as they develop disease. The latest license request was “the same application that has been renewed every three years,” he tells The Scientist. Aguzzi is one of several scientists who say it has become increasingly difficult to get licenses for animal experiments in recent years. Switzerland has some of the strictest animal protection laws in the world, and as a result, the quantity of animals used in research has steadily declined over the years. Between 2008 and 2017, for example, the number dropped by more than 100,000 per year. “What I’ve seen over the past 20 years is that regulations have tightened quite a lot. It requires much more work to write a license application and to get it approved,” says Isabelle Mansuy, a neuroepigeneticist at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. “Most of the additional requirements are good, because they have optimized the research in terms of animal numbers and forced us to better plan and document our experiments—but some changes are not necessary and have complicated our work.” © 1986 - 2019 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25853 - Posted: 01.10.2019

Alison Abbott A court in Germany has dismissed a high-profile case of alleged animal cruelty brought against neuroscientist Nikos Logothetis, less than three weeks before hearings were scheduled to begin. The administrative court in Tübingen announced the decision on 19 December, citing new information in an expert report commissioned by the defence to review the evidence. The report was provided to prosecutors and the court at the beginning of this month. The charge against Logothetis — who is a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI-Biocyb) in Tübingen — was related to an alleged delay in euthanizing three sick research monkeys. Two other staff members, who have not been publicly named, were also accused of the same charge and have had their cases dismissed. The three people must now pay a small settlement, which is not associated with guilt, by mid-January. The case has roots in 2014, when an undercover animal-welfare activist infiltrated the facilities at the MPI-Biocyb and filmed the handling of some of the monkeys used in research in Logothetis’s lab. The German Animal Welfare Federation, a non-profit animal-rights organization in Bonn, used the footage to make multiple allegations of violations of animal-protection laws to police. In August 2017 a Tübingen judge dismissed all but one of the allegations, which related to the three sick monkeys. Two of the monkeys recovered after treatment, and the third was humanely killed after staff decided that it would not recover. © 2018 Springer Nature Publishing AG

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 25820 - Posted: 12.23.2018

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