Rep. Roscoe Barlett, a Republican from Maryland, published an intriguing op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week detailing his change of heart — from for to against — on using apes for scientific research. Here are the first two paragraphs:

Before I was elected to Congress, I was a physiologist at the Navy’s School of Aviation Medicine. For our successful missions to transport men to the moon and return them safely to Earth, I invented a series of respiratory support devices, which we tested on primates, including Baker, a squirrel monkey. Before humans were rocketed into space, Baker was the first primate to survive a trip into space and back; Able, her counterpart on the flight, died from an allergic reaction to an anesthetic during a procedure shortly after the landing.

At the time, I believed such research was worth the pain inflicted on the animals. But in the years since, our understanding of its effect on primates, as well as alternatives to it, have made great strides, to the point where I no longer believe such experiments make sense — scientifically, financially or ethically. That’s why I have introduced bipartisan legislation to phase out invasive research on great apes in the United States.

Click here for the full read.

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