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Chimps in Japan living out lives in sanctuary
July 27, 2007, 4:57 pm
Filed under: Interesting Chimp Stories

Chimp research ban may help studies into aging
07/25/2007
BY NAOYUKI UCHIMURA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Seventy-eight chimpanzees once used for medical testing will now give
researchers insights into how to improve geriatric care for humans.
Since a ban on medical testing on chimpanzees last year, the aging
primates have been living out their days at a luxurious ape “retirement”
center run in Kumamoto Prefecture by a pharmaceutical company.

A new research wing will open at the center on Aug. 1 to study the aging
process in primates.

The project, an initiative of Kyoto University and Nagoya-based Sanwa
Kagaku Kenkyusho Co. pharmaceutical company, will be funded by drug
companies.

Chimps were first brought to Japan by drug companies in the 1970s for
research on infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria and for
new drug trials.

Chimps are now classified as endangered. Under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also
known as the Washington Convention, Japan banned the import and export
of the primates since 1980.

With mounting pressure from animal rights activists to stop experiments
on living animals, experiments on chimps were halted in Japan last year.

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