Bloomsmith, M. A., Schapiro, S. J., Strobert, E. A. 2006. Preparing chimpanzees for laboratory research. ILAR Journal 47(4), 316-325.
The chimpanzee is the only representative of the Great Apes that is extensively involved in biomedical research in primate laboratories. These apes are used as animal models in a variety of studies, including research on infectious disease, parasitic disease, pharmacokinetic studies, neuroscience, cognition, and behavior. Chimpanzees used in biomedical research in the United States reside largely in six specialized research and holding facilities, and most of the research with them is conducted at these sites. Given the relatively small population of chimpanzees and its importance to biomedical research, it is imperative that we carefully manage the care, production, and use of these animals in biomedical research studies. Selection criteria and preparation techniques are reviewed in this article in an effort to begin a discussion on best practices for choosing and handling chimpanzees participating in biomedical research. The use of routine health assessment information is described for subject selection, as are behavioral issues to be considered. Due to the relatively small number of chimpanzees available, issues related to experimental design and multiple uses of chimpanzees are discussed. Practices related to the transportation and acclimation of chimpanzees are described. Finally, behavioral conditioning procedures are discussed, including habituation, desensitization, and positive reinforcement training that have been applied to reduce animal distress and improve the quality of the science being conducted with chimpanzee subjects.