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November 18, 2009

Chimp Shareholder Resolution

The HSUS Urges Abbott Laboratories to Phase Out Use of Chimpanzees in Research

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States filed a shareholder resolution Monday with Abbott Laboratories asking the company to produce a schedule for phasing out the use of chimpanzees in research and to publish the schedule online.

"Socially responsible investors are becoming increasingly concerned with the use of chimpanzees for harmful research," says Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for Animal Research Issues at The HSUS. "The chimpanzee model has failed time and again, and there are alternatives available. It is time for companies like Abbott to end chimpanzee research and embrace alternatives in the interest of human health and animal welfare."

A journal publication showed that Abbott Laboratories recently used chimpanzees in a hepatitis C virus inhibitor efficacy study. A recent review of the use of chimpanzees in HCV research published in the Journal of Medical Primatology showed that chimpanzees, unlike humans, often clear HCV infection on their own and don't develop chronic active hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Furthermore, the review showed that cellular studies of human immune responses to HCV infection as well as existing in vitro methods could provide ample opportunities for effective testing of treatments and vaccines.

A 2009 undercover investigation by The HSUS at the New Iberia Research Center — a primate laboratory often contracted to perform testing for companies — uncovered procedures that chimpanzees used for research in areas such as hepatitis often must endure, such as social isolation for long periods of time.

There is a worldwide decline in chimpanzee experimentation because of the high financial and ethical costs of using these extremely intelligent and social animals, as well as the availability of alternatives.

Facts:

  • Abbott Laboratories is a global company that manufactures pharmaceutical and nutritional products and medical devices. It is headquartered in Abbott Park, Ill.
  • Abbott used chimpanzees in an HCV inhibitor efficacy study that was published in 2007 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
  • Since early 2008 The HSUS has made repeated attempts at dialogue with Abbott regarding the company's use of chimpanzees.
  • A 2008 HSUS survey of biomedical and pharmaceutical companies revealed that many do not use chimpanzees. So far, 13 companies have pledged not to use these animals in invasive research.
  • About 1,000 chimpanzees remain in laboratories in the United States — the only remaining country that continues the large-scale use of these animals for invasive research and testing.
  • At any given time, about 80 percent - 90 percent of chimpanzees in laboratories are not being used in research and are simply being warehoused at taxpayer expense.
  • Countries such as The United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Australia and New Zealand have already enacted prohibitions or severe restrictions on chimpanzee research.
  • In March 2009, The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive research, retire the about 500 government-owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary and prevent any further breeding of chimpanzees for research.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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