Last week was a banner week for newspaper articles about chimpanzees and their protection.
Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest was the subject of a great article published yesterday (front page of the print edition) in the Yakima Herald Republic. Read it here and be sure to share it with others by sharing the link or scrolling down to the bottom of the article and clicking on the “share” button.
On Friday, a compelling guest column by our friend Debra Durham was published in the Seattle Times. Debra wrote about her take on a recently released film and the realities within the fictional story in the column Depiction of lab animals in ‘Planet of the Apes’ disturbingly accurate.
Recently, a very important op-ed in the New York Times appeared from Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett which eloquently described his change in opinion about the use of primates in biomedical research and the reasons for his co-sponsorship of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act. Here’s a quote from that article:
“Continuing innovations in alternatives to the use of invasive research on great apes is the civilized way forward in the 21st century. Past civilizations were measured by how they treated their elderly and disabled. I believe that we will be measured, in part, by how we treat animals, particularly great apes.”
And finally, the Washington Post tackled the story of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) meeting that convened last week as part of their investigation into the need for the continued use of chimpanzees in biomedical research. The investigation began in response to protests about moving chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) to a laboratory in Texas where they faced being put back into invasive research.
If you’ve been following this story through our blog and e-newsletters, you know that Jody’s son Levi is one of the unlucky 14 chimpanzees already transferred to Texas. Foxie’s son David, Negra’s daughter Heidi and Jody’s daughter April remain at APF, and their future is in the hands of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH commissioned the IOM to examine the scientific value of using chimpanzees in research, but, as the Washington Post article pointed out, and as we all know, the ethical questions of using great apes in invasive research cannot and should not be separated from the discussion.
For the sake of Heidi, David, April, Levi, and all chimpanzees who are currently considered merely tools and test tubes by some in the biomedical research industry, we are grateful for Jane Goodall, Laura Bonar and others at the IOM meeting who insisted that ethics be included in the discussion and ultimate decision by the NIH.