Non-human primates (NHP) are widely considered an essential model for biomedical
research because of their close genetic, anatomo-functional and cognitive similarities to
humans. These same reasons also raise particular ethical concerns for the unavoidable
harm caused to these animals, in particular to those involved in neuroscientific studies.
Besides reducing the number of animals needed to the absolute minimum, it is therefore
essential to implement procedures allowing, at the same time, to minimize the harm to
the animals and maximize the quality and ecological validity of the data. Technological
progresses have made possible, for example, to self-train monkeys in their home cage
with positive reinforcement techniques and to adopt various types of telemetric systems
for wirelessly recording neuronal activity in freely behaving animals. Example of full application
of these techniques are still very limited in the literature, but different recent
international projects and pioneering studies are paving the way for turning to the use
of new technologies to get a more “ethically acceptable” NHP neuroscientific research.