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March 4, 2010

The HSUS Launches Whistleblower Hotline for Chimp Lab Employees

The Humane Society of the United States has launched a confidential whistleblower hotline for employees of chimpanzee research laboratories to anonymously report alleged abuses. The launch comes one year after The HSUS released the results of a nine-month undercover investigation at New Iberia Research Center, the largest chimpanzee laboratory in the world.

In the areas surrounding the seven remaining U.S. chimpanzee research laboratories, newspaper advertisements and billboards urge anyone with information about poor treatment of chimpanzees or other animals in research facilities to call The HSUS' confidential hotline: 1-866-293-HSUS.

"Animal laboratories are extremely secretive about their activities and it is notoriously difficult to get information about what is really happening inside," said Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for animal research issues for The HSUS. "We know from past whistleblowers and from our undercover investigation at New Iberia Research Center that there can be a great deal of suffering behind closed doors."

Approximately 1,000 chimpanzees, some of whom have been in laboratories for more than 40 years after being captured in the wild, are being held at the following seven U.S. laboratories:

  • Alamogordo Primate Facility (Alamogordo, N.M.)
  • Bioqual, Inc. (Rockville, Md.)
  • Emory University Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta & Lawrenceville, Ga.)
  • Southwest National Primate Research Center (San Antonio)
  • United States Food and Drug Administration (Rockville, Md.)
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette New Iberia Research Center (New Iberia, La.)
  • University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Bastrop, Texas)

The HSUS is working with policymakers, the public and the scientific community by advocating for a phase-out of harmful chimpanzee research, educating the public about the plight of lab chimps and working to prevent breeding of more chimps into research.

Facts:

  • In March 2009, The HSUS released the disturbing results of an undercover investigation at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center — the largest chimpanzee laboratory in the world with more than 325 chimpanzees. The investigation resulted in a 108 page complaint to the USDA which alleged more than 300 violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA subsequently opened its own investigation and has yet to make a ruling in the matter.
  • The United States is the only remaining country that continues the large-scale use of chimpanzees for invasive research and testing.
  • The U.K., Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Australia and New Zealand have already enacted prohibitions or severe restrictions on chimpanzee research.
  • At any given time, about 80 percent to 90 percent of chimpanzees in laboratories are not used in research, but simply warehoused at taxpayer expense.
  • In March 2009, The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and currently has 142 cosponsors. The 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.

To learn more about chimps in research, visit humanesociety.org/chimps.

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Follow The Humane Society of the United States on Twitter.

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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