Invasive chimpanzee research is on its way out, and I truly hope the research community comes to an accord with The HSUS and the emerging international consensus that it is time to phase out their use in invasive experiments, paving the way for Congressional passage of the Great Ape Protection Act introduced today.
Leadership requires some tough decisions, but this call doesn’t have a major degree of difficulty. The chimps are dangerous for laboratory workers because of their strength and resourcefulness; they are probably impossible to confine in a standard laboratory setting in a way that is humane and satisfactory for their mental health and physical well-being; they are very costly to care for because they are so long-lived and require space and emotional enrichment; they have unmatched cognitive abilities in the non-human world and for that reason, the public is sensitive to the moral question of invasive experiments on them; and, with relatively few chimps actually used in research, their usefulness to research is marginal, otherwise they would be more widely used.
Today, I want to ask our supporters to contact their U.S. Representative and urge them to cosponsor the Great Ape Protection Act.
But my primary appeal is reserved for the players within the biomedical research field—the trade association leaders, pharmaceutical companies, the university scientists and technicians, the biomedical journal editors, the government officials, and others. Allow these chimpanzees to live out the rest of their lives in a setting that is best for them. Back the Great Ape Protection Act, support chimpanzee sanctuaries, and be part of the solution. It will go a long way toward helping animals, and toward easing the polarity that has developed on this issue of animal research in our society.