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August 9, 2010

Help Pass a Law to Help Chimps

The Great Ape Protection Act would end the suffering of hundreds of chimpanzees in laboratories

  • A sillouette of Flo in an outdoor enclosure at the Alamogordo Primate Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
    Animal Protection of New Mexico

Flo deserves better. Like many of the approximatly 1,000 chimpanzees living in laboratories in the United States, the 52-year-old chimpanzee has spent decades—possibly her entire life—in a research laboratory. Now, she and 202 other chimpanzees face the possibility of being moved to a yet another laboratory.

Currently, only a fraction of these endangered animals are actually used in research experiments. The rest are warehoused, often in barren, cell-like conditions, at the expense of millions in taxpayer dollars.

Help chimps suffering in laboratories. Take action now »

Despite sharing an estimated 98 percent of their DNA with humans, chimpanzees have proven to be poor test models for human diseases. The few chimpanzees who are still used face terrifying and painful experiments that have long-lasting effects and can cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is time to stop warehousing chimpanzees and end their use in harmful experiments as every other developed country in the world already has. If The Great Ape Protection Act—a federal bill currently pending in Congress—becomes law, it will phase out harmful research on all chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories, retire all of the approximately 500 federally-owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary, and strengthen the government's ban on breeding chimpanzees for harmful research.

The legislation was introduced in the Senate last week by Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Susan Collins, R-Maine and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. The bill already has 149 cosponsors in the House of Representatives where it was introduced in March 2009.

"The bipartisan Great Ape Protection Act is a common-sense reform to end needless pain and psychological harm to one of the animal kingdom's most highly developed animals, the chimpanzee," Sen. Cantwell said. "The chimpanzee is a poor model for illness research, and the vast majority of the 500 federally-owned chimpanzees are just wasting away in research laboratories resulting in millions of dollars of wasteful government spending. This bill would require these chimpanzees be permanently retired to sanctuaries, where it is far cheaper to care for them—not to mention a better environment for these great apes."

Chimpanzees deserve better than life in a research laboratory. Please lend your voice to this important cause. Take action now »

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