July 25, 2012
The HSUS Applauds U.S. Senate Committee for Advancing the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
The Humane Society of the United States applauds the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for approving the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810) and urges its passage in the full U.S. Senate. The legislation will phase out invasive research on chimpanzees, end breeding of chimpanzees for invasive research purposes and retire the 500 government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary, saving U.S. tax dollars and reducing the federal deficit by approximately $25 million per year.
“There are major economic, ethical and scientific reasons to end invasive chimpanzee research and retire chimpanzees to sanctuaries," says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "Taxpayers should no longer foot the bill for warehousing chimps in laboratories when the scientific community says the use of chimps in research is largely unnecessary. We express our thanks to Senators Boxer and Cardin and the other members of the EPW committee for moving this legislation forward.”
The bill was introduced by U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Susan Collins, R-Maine and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.
"I am pleased to see that the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act is moving forward through the United States Senate," said Sen. Cantwell. "A recent Institute of Medicine report concluded that chimpanzees are no longer necessary for nearly all biomedical research. This bipartisan bill is a common-sense reform to save taxpayer money and support more effective research."
"This legislation provides the common-sense savings of approximately $25 million of taxpayer money, per year," Sen. Collins said. "The legislation also corrects the pain and psychological damage that apes often experience as a result of needless experiments and solitary confinement. This bill would place these apes in sanctuaries, which would provide them with a more natural, comfortable habitat while saving taxpayer money."
"Chimpanzees are no longer needed for research, yet we remain the only country besides Gabon to continue holding these animals in laboratories as possible subjects for invasive research," said Sen. Sanders. "I believe it is time to release these animals from the laboratories where they are currently housed and allow them to live in humane sanctuaries - a move that would create a sizeable savings to taxpayers."
S. 810 passed the committee by voice vote with the inclusion of an amendment that allows for invasive research on great apes in the event that a new, emerging, or reemerging disease requires their use. Approval for research will involve a transparent process that closely tracks the recommendations of a recent Institute of Medicine report that concluded chimpanzees are largely unnecessary for current biomedical research.
- The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act was introduced in April 2011. The Senate EPW subcommittee on Water and Wildlife held a hearing on the bill in April 2012.
- A recent report by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council could not identify any area of current biomedical research for which chimpanzee use is necessary. Further, the report pointed to several available alternatives to chimpanzee use and called for increased support for the development of more alternative research methods.
- Prior to the IOM report, approximately 80 to 90 percent of chimpanzees in laboratories weren’t being used and instead are warehoused in laboratories at a high cost to taxpayers.
- Sanctuaries can provide higher standards of care at a lower cost to taxpayers.
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