Are primates used for distressing animal experiments?

Yes. In 2006, the relevant committee of the National Assembly rejected a parliamentary initiative on the "Ban of moderately to severely distressing animal experiments with primates". However, this did not happen because the parliamentarians were in favour of such experiments, but because they believed that these questions were already adequately regulated in the Animal Protection Ordinance. While distressing animal experiments are also conducted with primates in Switzerland, no testing is carried out in this country with great apes. More than ten years ago, the Swiss Committee on Animal Experiments (SCAE) and the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) established in their report "Research involving primates – an ethical evaluation", that primates occupy a special position because of their resemblance with humans and because of their cognitive and emotional capabilities. Within the group of primates, great apes ‒ that is, bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans ‒ play an even more exceptional role, because they resemble human beings even more closely. The committees found weighing the benefits and disadvantages of experiments with great apes to be ethically impermissable and experiments involving these animals not to be justifiable.

For this reason, the SCAE and ECNH recommended banning distressing experiments involving these great apes. There has not been any legislation to implement this demand, but such experiments are nevertheless not being conducted in Switzerland.