Piper Hoffman April 26, 2012
The United States is finally considering joining the rest of the world
(except Gabon) in banning invasive experiments on chimpanzees. The Senate
held hearings this week on the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
(known as GAPCSA, H.R.1513/S.810), which would 'end the use of chimpanzees
in invasive experiments and release federally owned chimpanzees to permanent
sanctuaries' according to
Dr. Neal Barnard, President of Physicians Committee for Responsible
More than 1,000 chimpanzees are locked up in U.S. labs, where they
undergo often painful experiments and live in small metal cages. All this
suffering is to no end: a recent report from The Institute of Medicine (the
'health arm' of the National
Academy of Sciences) found that experiments on chimpanzees are not necessary
to advance human health.
The report, titled Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research,
concluded that 'recent advances in alternate research tools have rendered
chimpanzees largely unnecessary as research subjects.'
permit non-invasive genomic and behavioral research, but such studies could
be conducted in sanctuaries and other natural settings.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports that the bill would
save taxpayers $300 million over the next 10 years. It would end transport
and breeding programs for all great apes intended for research, including
chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons; ban federally funded
chimpanzee breeding programs; and release 500 federally-owned chimps from
labs into sanctuaries that would give them a better quality of life.
The next step for GAPCSA is a vote in the full Senate Committee on the
Environment and Public Works, which is made up of one Senator each from
Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland,
Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode
Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming. Residents of these and all other
states can take action by signing the petition below and by
contacting their senators directly.