Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 143–156 | Cite as

Harms and deprivation of benefits for nonhuman primates in research

  • Hope FerdowsianEmail author
  • Agustín Fuentes


The risks of harm to nonhuman primates, and the absence of benefits for them, are critically important to decisions about nonhuman primate research. Current guidelines for review and practice tend to be permissive for nonhuman primate research as long as minimal welfare requirements are fulfilled and human medical advances are anticipated. This situation is substantially different from human research, in which risks of harms to the individual subject are typically reduced to the extent feasible. A risk threshold is needed for the justification of research on nonhuman primates, comparable to the way risk thresholds are set for vulnerable human subjects who cannot provide informed consent. Much of the laboratory research conducted today has inadequate standards, leading to common physical, psychological, and social harms.


Risk Harm Threshold Nonhuman primates Animal research Risk-benefit analysis 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1058186. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The authors thank Tom Beauchamp, John Gluck, and David Wendler for helpful comments on previous versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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