Should the conduct of research with primates be banned?

Experiments with monkeys are not prohibited in Switzerland. However, no experiments with great apes (e.g. chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans) have been conducted for a long time. Non-human primates (e.g. guenons) are used for the development of some medicinal products and are in part also mandated for this purpose by the regulatory authorities. Non-human primates are also used for research in therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, Ebola or the Zika virus, or to answer specific neurobiological questions (e.g. rehabilitation after paralysis). This research is subject to rigorous limitations and may only be carried out if no animals of a "lower" evolutionary level, such as rats or mice, can be used.

Non-human primates are used if conditions within the human organism need to be mimicked as closely as possible in the research, but the experiments may not be conducted with humans for ethical reasons.

If experiments with monkeys were to be banned in Switzerland, we should keep in mind that the research in that case would possibly be conducted by scientists in other countries, where the animal protection requirements are less rigorous. Or, we should be willing to conduct risky trials with humans – a practice that is prohibited for ethical considerations and is in contravention of the Declaration of Helsinki.