Target: Merck and Co. CEO Kenneth C. Frazier
Goal: Support pharmaceutical companies ending testing on primates, and encourage more companies to take this step
A top pharmaceutical company recently announced that it will cease conducting or financially supporting research on chimpanzees. Support the example set by this company and encourage similar policy changes for other corporations and companies involved in biomedical research.
One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Merck and Co., Inc. instituted this policy change following years of discussion with the Human Society of the United States over the welfare of chimpanzees in research. The availability of alternatives also influenced the decision, rendering research using chimpanzees ultimately unnecessary. These recent advances and the change in research policy will protect chimpanzees from invasive, unnecessary, and painful experiments.
Using chimpanzees in biomedical research has long been contested due to reports that found little necessity in the experiments these primates are subjected to, as well as the ethical implications of testing animals that have proven to be highly intelligent and capable of complex emotion and thought. Alternative methods, such as computer simulations, provide ways to conduct research free of unnecessary animal testing and in some cases proved to deliver more accurate results than a non-human animal could. Merck & Co. is one of a number of companies that will no longer use chimpanzees for biomedical research. Government-owned chimpanzees have also been granted retirement from medical research, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule that would list captive chimpanzees as endangered, protecting them from harmful use in both entertainment and research.
Though all this points toward a decline in experiments on primates, there is still much more to be done for all animals subject to research. The example and precedent set by Merck is therefore of utmost importance in the fight to end harmful and cruel experiments and research on animals.
Dear Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth C. Frazier,
Ending the practice and financial support for using chimpanzees in medical research is a heartening and admirable change. With the development of non-animal alternatives for testing, and the realization that many experiments on chimpanzees are unnecessary and cruel, it has become more important than ever to encourage and support an end to testing on primates, and if possible, all animals. The United States government has already taken action to end the harmful use of chimps, and to retire them to sanctuaries where they may live enjoyable, cruelty-free lives.
These are highly intelligent, emotionally complex animals, but above all they are capable of experiencing pain and suffering and should not be subject to unnecessary and painful experimentation. Merck has set an example and precedent for all pharmaceutical companies in joining the movement away from primate testing, especially considering the company’s global position.
I commend your actions, and hope that you will encourage other companies to implement similar changes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Delphine Bruyere via Wikimedia Commons