Chimps Deserve Better – and Things Are Getting Better for Them

By on September 14, 2015 with 16 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

EDITOR’S NOTE: GOOD NEWS! The HSUS and the New York Blood Center have announced an agreement to provide long-term sanctuary for the Liberian chimpanzees. READ THE UPDATE »

As of today, September 14th, all chimps are listed as endangered under U.S. law – both wild and captive chimps. This day marks the official end of unrestricted invasive experiments on chimpanzees in this country – a milestone in our long-running Chimps Deserve Better campaign.

Our campaign has been multifaceted, pushing for the enactment of legislation in Congress, urging the National Institutes of Health to empanel an expert group to examine the usefulness of chimp research to the human condition, and pressuring pharmaceutical companies to significantly restrict chimpanzee research. The HSUS also led the effort to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list all chimps as endangered, including the ones living in laboratories.

There exists the possibility that a laboratory might seek to secure a permit from FWS in the future to conduct invasive research, but it is highly unlikely that labs would meet the legal requirements for such permits. Such experiments would have to demonstrate that they are benefitting chimpanzees in the wild, and we don’t see the labs motivated to reorient their work, given that they’ve been focused on human health and not chimpanzee conservation.

As a community and a nation we can now turn to the retirement of these animals who have endured so much over decades. Some of the chimpanzees were captured from the wild and are now in their late 50’s. During our Chimps Deserve Better campaign, we’ve already inspired a major transfer of chimpanzees to Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary. All 110 government-owned chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana were moved to sanctuary, which essentially doubled Chimp Haven’s population.

But it’s no time to shutter our Chimps Deserve Better campaign. More work remains.

Today there are approximately 745 chimpanzees living in five laboratories (Alamogordo Primate Facility, MD Anderson Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine, New Iberia Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center). Of those 745, approximately 330 are owned by the federal government and the remaining 415 are owned by the laboratories themselves.

Chimp Haven is hoping to expand but will be relying on donors to help with this effort, including the fundraising necessary to guarantee lifetime care of the animals. At The HSUS, our eyes in the very short run are set on the 20 government-owned chimpanzees at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a facility where we conducted an undercover investigation and that has been the site of unexpected animal deaths and various violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Every one of those 20 chimpanzees has been infected with disease and is unsuitable for any research the labs may be interested in trying to conduct.

Meanwhile, The HSUS continues to highlight the plight of more than 60 chimpanzees living in Liberia who were abandoned by the New York Blood Center. We have led a coalition of organizations and stepped in to fund continuing care for these animals, but this is a responsibility of the Blood Center, a wealthy non-profit organization, which used them in experiments for decades and then pledged to provide lifetime care after retiring them. Now it has reneged on that promise.

We hope to continue to share more news in the coming months as we roll up our sleeves and focus on achieving additional positive outcomes for chimps. If you’d like to contribute to this ongoing effort, consider donating to our Chimps Deserve Better Fund.

I look forward to the day when we can formally lay our Chimps Deserve Better campaign to rest. We’re not there yet, and we have more work ahead. But I’m confident we’ll get there if we stay focused on our goals of giving a good life to every one of these creatures.

Animal Research and Testing, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. christine Sponchia says:

    WOW… awesome news! Thank you so much for your never ending effort

  2. Sandy Smith says:

    This is an amazing CNN video story on the Liberia chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center!

  3. Courtney Edwards says:

    For the love of God and nature, these animals should be treated with the level of respect and compassion they deserve, if we are to take our own humanity seriously.

  4. David Cottrell says:

    Help those chimpanzees!!!!@@

  5. Ilana Akoundi says:

    help these chimpanzees NOW!

  6. Ligia Vara says:

    No comment

  7. Jenny and Jimmy Desmond says:

    Thank you so much for posting Wayne. And for all the amazing work the HSUS has done on this. Couldn’t be better news on the date of our wedding anniversary. To see something we’ve been working toward most of our marriage become a reality – what a wonderful gift!!! Celebrating many things today!! <3 JandJ Desmond

  8. David Bernazani says:

    This has been a great year of progress for animals and the way we humans treat them. It seems not a week goes by without another announcement of a new law or policy benefitting our nonhuman cousins, from banning shark fins, getting farm animals out of extreme confinement, and stopping the trapping of bobcats, to (hopefully) ending the ivory trade and the use of bullhooks against elephants in my state of California. Many of these recent developments have been due in no small part to the efforts of the HSUS. I’m proud to be a member of an organization that makes such a difference!

  9. Juanita Garcia says:

    I am very proud of the efforts of HSUS and hope that they continue to make progress in their goal of humane treatment for all animals.

    I do have a question. Will this in any way affect the animals who are now suffering in labs that test for cosmetic companies?

  10. Robert Schindelbeck says:

    Great news… but what does it mean for the chimps that are held as “pets” by private owners and breeders? Is it still allowed for them to keep them and breed? I don’t think a normal pet owner can provide the habitat, enrichment and care a chimpanzee (or orang utan, gorilla etc) really need to have a species-appropriate environment. Is there any hope for them or will they stay in captivity of their owners?

    • David Bernazani says:

      Robert, I believe individuals who “own” chimps will be allowed to keep them, but I think I read they will no longer be able to transport them across state lines, and possibly not be allowed to sell them. I’m not sure what was “grandfathered” in to this bill. But they certainly won’t be allowe to buy any more.
      This is unfortunate for the ones still held in captivity by individuals (which personally I think is an outrage), but at least when they pass on, this shameful chapter in human history will end. If anyone knows more about the new law, please weigh in.

  11. Joshua says:

    Brilliant news, but we got humongous progress to follow. People donating and assisting more with the campaign is a great action to do.

  12. Renee Fox-Turbush says:

    This is such Great News So Happy To Here this news !
    Thank you HSUS For All you are Doing for Chimpanzees!



Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.