Caring for Nonhuman Primates in Biomedical Research Facilities: Scientific, Moral and Emotional Considerations
American journal of primatology 2011 Mar; 73(3): 220-5
Animal care for nonhuman primates (NHPs) in biomedical facilities has undergone major changes in the past few decades. Today, most primate facilities have dedicated and highly trained animal care technicians who go to great efforts to ensure the physiological and psychological well being of the primates in their charge. These caretakers work closely with the animals and, as a result, often develop strong relationships with them. Once discouraged and considered a potential threat to scientific objectivity, such positive relationships are now seen as important components to animal care. Positive interactions between caretakers and primates can benefit the primates by reducing their stress and improving their overall well being which can, in turn, help the scientific endeavor. Further, providing the best possible care is our moral responsibility. However, there can also be emotional costs associated with caring for NHPs in research facilities, particularly when animals become ill or have to be euthanized. Facilities can do much to help ease this conflict. High-quality and conscientious animal care is good for the animals, science, and public perception of research facilities.
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