The myth that animals in research are spared pain and distress is perpetrated to comfort the caring public. In truth they are not.
While scientists focus on the similarities between chimpanzees and humans, to justify the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and testing, they ignore these similarities when convenient and subject chimpanzees to harsh laboratory deprivation or painful and dangerous procedures.
For example, at one lab, chimpanzees (and monkeys) were not given pain relievers after invasive procedures like liver punch or wedge biopsies. Only after an employee had a liver punch biopsy and described it as excruciatingly painful were analgesics (Tylenol) given to the chimpanzees after a biopsy. Review of records from closed labs have revealed egregious research procedures such as back surgeries (i.e. removing discs or purposely causing back problems) that were performed without administering any post-surgical pain medications. Animal research facilities are commonly cited during USDA inspection reports because they are IACUC’s failure to adequately report painful and distressing procedures as required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Chimpanzees are incredibly strong and can sometimes appear very stoic. However, as a former caregiver states, “They suffer no less, I promise you.”