In her spare time after introducing a new generation to Barbra Streisand, Lea Michele of Glee is taking her animal rights campaign to the doorstep of the National Institute of Health.

WENN has the details of the actress’ letter to the respected institution, urging researchers to drop lab testing on chimpanzees. There are 14 specific chimps Lea has in mind. These 14 were retired lab animals residing in the Alamogordo Primate Facility, a New Mexico compound for ex-lab chimpanzees. According to Lea’s letter, they were retired for a decade in the sanctuary before the U.S. government approved them to become lab subjects again in nearby Texas. Lea is concerned because the Texas lab is “notorious” and plans on conducting harmful experiments.

So while this is possibly a very sympathetic case, let me bring up the researcher’s concern. Get involved with any drug development research, and you’ll learn the chain of testing to get the coveted FDA seal of approval. Unfortunately, for better or worse, animal testing is part of the process. It usually first starts off with mice, and if most survive and do not develop any adverse after effects, the medicine is then usually tested on either dogs or cats. After passing round 2, does it get tested on our closest cousins in the animal kingdom, the chimpanzee. If researchers were to remove the entire step of animal testing in the research trials, there stands a significant risk when it comes to human testing. These kinds of tests could put trial populations at risk, and without prior studies into how the biochemistry of a drug works within a living organism, we could see an upswing in all kinds of health problems. So as much as it pains many people to agree with such cruelty, it is a matter of them or us who gets to be the proverbial guinea pig.

But Lea Michele is not alone in pushing for an end to animal testing. In addition to the PETA cult in Hollywood, Dame Judi Dench and others are pushing for an end to animal testing in cosmetics for the European Union. Her voice is crucial, as the vote could either ratify it as law in the next few years or delay it for a decade. I doubt Lea’s crusade for the end of animal testing will garner much result in the law-making side of life, but perhaps she can get the 14 chimps back out of their cages and into the lush wilds of a reservation. Lea stated in her letter that "Chimpanzee experimentation raises some obvious ethical issues, and there are also clear scientific problems. That's why most countries around the world no longer permit harmful research on chimpanzees.”

So researchers, Lea would be happy to see the 14 chimps in question returned to their sanctuary in New Mexico. Because like many working folks in America, losing your retirement after only ten years qualifies as bad and terribly cruel. So be nice, and find another 14 chimps under the social security age to test on.



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