Animal models play an essential role in the development of new medicines, vaccines and therapies for the benefit of human health. Within animal models for biomedical research, non-human primates belong to a special group. The use of these highly developed animals needs specific attention. The use of animals in biomedical research raises concern by the general public, and when non-human primates are used this is even more so. Non-human primates are social animals and given their highly developed social behaviour and skills, the use of non-human primates in biomedical research raises ethical and practical issues. However, in the light of the current state of scientific knowledge, the use of non-human primates in scientific procedures is still necessary.