FORGOTTEN ANIMALS: The Rehabilitation of Laboratory Primates by Linda Koebner

FORGOTTEN ANIMALS: The Rehabilitation of Laboratory Primates

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An expansion of Koebner's 1981 From Cage to Freedom: A New Beginning for Laboratory Chimpanzees--from her own experiences with a small group of chimps to the work of other small, inconclusive chimp-rehabilitation projects. In the course of the diffuse text, something is said of the conditions in which chimps and other laboratory animals are kept, and of recent legislation to improve these conditions. The practicalities are noted: only so many captive chimps (virtually no imports), wanted for numerous purposes, who are not breeding--hence becoming the objects of rehabilitation efforts for practical as well as humane reasons. Koebner lavishes praise on the combined efforts of concerned researchers and ""the biomedical establishment""--such as the 1979 Ad Hoc Task Force--and doesn't really come to grips with specific issues. Sympathetic treatment is accorded performing chimps, lab chimps, and zoo chimps; as regards the rehabilitation projects, the ""compromise"" represented by Bastrop, the U. of Texas System Cancer Center, is cited as a current, as-yet-unproven model of ""humane care, housing, and management"" (the words of its director, which Koebner echoes). Various bits of evidence indicate the possibility of reintroducing carefully reared lab chimps into a social group; but maintaining them is very costly. That they will also breed is uncertain--artificial insemination may be the only answer. It is not a hopeful picture, as Koebner acknowledges--but what we have here is not even a clear, firm delineation of the situation. On rehabilitation, the reportage is premature; on reforms, sketchy. As to what should be done--""What are our priorities as humans?""--etc., Koebner can only raise the familiar, troubling questions.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1984
Publisher: Lodestar/Dutton