Home > Bone Tissue Engineering > Testing on non-human primates

Testing on non-human primates

On the occasion of the protest that occurred in front of the royal palace yesterday, I wanted to know what you people think about animal testing on non-human primates. The link to the article at ‘de redactie’ about the demonstration you can find here. Yesterday there was a protest by some members of the anti animal testing organization with the slogan: “Monkeys are no utensils!”. Testing on primates is already been forbidden also in Belgium, but non-human primates are still used for scientific animal testing. The organization wants our government and even our king to stop this testing and to stop the discrimination between different apes.


Associations against animal testing and in particular against testing on (non-human) primates are numerous. I found a website where they are suggesting alternative ways for this scientific tests. Some of these are:

– Embryonic stem cell test: using mouse-derived cells to assess potential toxicity to developing embryos, has been validated as a partial replacement for birth-defect testing in rats and rabbits.

– Human skin model tests: such as the validated EpiDerm™ test, which has been accepted almost universally as a total replacement for skin corrosion studies in rabbits.

– Use of human skin leftover from surgical procedures: or donated cadavers can be used to measure the rate at which a chemical is able to penetrate the skin.

Of coarse if testing is possible without the use of primates and with the use of such alternatives, I would think nobody would understand why it is still done. End even more when you use such pictures like I used in this post. But that is just the reason why these experiments are still done: it is not possible yet. In vivo experiments, especially experiments with drug release and drug absorption involve the totality of the complexity of a living being. No in vitro tests can already cope with this, but the amount of data of these tests is increasing at rapid speed.

Maybe, in future an almost completely digital version of life will be available. What do you think? And should we already stop with testing on non-human primates?

Another interesting article that appeared in the ‘daily telegraph’ in 2011 can be found here. It is about the reasoning, efficiency and the justification of scientific testing on monkeys.

  1. 04/04/2013 at 11:52

    I think the testing on primates will never be completely replaced by in vitro tests. A lot more tests in vitro will be possible of course. But there doesn’t seem a way to test the complex interactions in a complete living organism.
    The same is true for tests on humans of course. Even after tests done on animals, everything should still be tested on humans as they might react in an other way.

  2. 07/04/2013 at 15:14

    I agree with Wim on this. In vitro testing will not be able to replace the tests on living organisms. They may become the first step in the testing procedure. The second step will then be tests on animals etc. It may make animal testing safer when they have already done the in vitro test.

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