The Primate Freedom Project recently announced the formation of |Stop Experimentation on and Exploitation of Chimpanzees| (the acronym is SEEC, pronounced “cease”, get it?)
Anyway, most of the SEEC material is the same old “chimpanzees share 98 percent of our DNA” rhetoric, but a press release by Primate Freedom/SEEC activist Cyn Krueger did a good job of highlighting exactly where the group places non-human primates in the order of things. From a press release titled “U.S. government engages in child abuse”,
SEEC has received information that the FDA has imprisoned 11 children and is subjecting them to biomedical research. Four 5-year-olds, a 4-year-old, five 3-year-olds, and a 21-month-old infant are the subjects of a hepatitis vaccine study at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
That the victims are chimpanzees and not humans does not lessen the atrocity. Their suffering is much the same.
The SEEC web site, at http://www.seec-usa.org/ is definitely worth a visit. For example, on their “Mad Science” page dedicated to claiming that animal research is unreliable, SEEC actually cites the antihistamine seldane (terfenadine) as one of “numerous drugs shown to be safe in the animal models cause serious harm or even death to humans.”
Seldane was marketed in the United States until 1997, and was the first antihistamine that didn’t cause drowsiness. There were a small number of deaths related to seldane due to two separate issues. First, it turned out that the recommended daily dosage of seldane could cause dangerous heart arrhythmia’s in some people. Neither the animal research nor the extensive testing of the drug in human clinical trials revealed this — in fact it wasn’t until the drug had been available for several years and was on the verge of achieving over-the-counter status that the heart-related problems became obvious and the recommended dosage levels were lowered.
Seldane also caused potentially life threatening changes in heart rhythm if taken in conjunction with some antibiotics and some antifungal medication. The drug was labelled as such and pharmacists and doctors did a good job of making sure people weren’t taking seldane with these other drugs, but inevitably there were a few deaths.
Despite its side effects, the FDA allowed seldane to stay on the market because its side effects were relatively avoidable and there was no better medication for treating allergies. Once Allegra — which is similar to seldane but doesn’t have the potentially dangerous side effects problem — was approved, seldane was quickly withdrawn.
Far from being an example of the pointlessness of animal research, seldane is an excellent example of how such research can help millions of people live better lives (as someone who has severe allergy problems, the drug was a lifesaver before the approval of Allegra and Claritin).
U.S. government engages in child abuse. Cyn Krueger, Press Release, October 21, 2001.
Mad Science. Stop Experimentation on and Exploitation of Chimpanzees, Web page, Accessed 12/05/2001.