The film is part of a campaign by NEAVS, calling on the National Institutes of Health [NIH] not to weaken laws meant to offer minimal protections to animals in labs.
The organization is asking people to ‘go online and tell NIH that animal welfare must not be compromised as part of the agency’s current attempts to decrease its regulatory burden‘.
Awareness and support
World Week for Animals in Laboratories, which is held during the last week of April every year, aims to increase awareness and support for the plight of animals in labs.
The short film released by NEAVS and We Animals, and created by filmmaker Kelly Guerin, highlights ‘the impact of existing weak regulatory standards for protections of primates’ psychological well-being as required by federal law’.
According to NEAVS: “Titled Empty Laws, the film captures what is wrong with already weak regulatory standards and enforcement that cannot be compromised any further.”
The film highlights the impact of weak regulatory standards on primates who are used in research
‘Unrelenting psychological suffering’
NEAVS says that although primates are genetically similar to humans, there are major biological differences that render them an inaccurate model for predicting human health and disease.
Film producer and NEAVS President Emeritus, Dr. Theodora Capaldo said: “It is not just the invasive procedures and the physical pain; it is the endless fear, suffocating boredom and absolute powerlessness to protect themselves that cause enormous and unrelenting psychological suffering in primates in labs.
“Add to all that ineffective and poorly enforced regulations and you know why they suffer tremendously not only during their time in a lab, but for many, even once rescued and safe in sanctuary.”
On her experience documenting some of the few primates ever to make it out of research alive, filmmaker Kelly Guerin added: “One of the most challenging aspects of telling lab animal-centered stories is they are mostly hidden from public view.
“Documenting the lucky few who had been placed in sanctuaries would be the closest I could hope to get. Though they have flourished under the peace of sanctuary life, their past traumas will always be with them.
“This film can help shine a light on the thousands of primates left behind, unseen, still in labs.”
In 2016, 71,188 primates were used in research or testing in the United States – a 15 percent increase from 2015.