There is a whole lot going on in the world of chimps right now! Here are a few highlights for your further reading, education, and advocacy:
Scientific American just published an editorial calling for an end to biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees. The editors reference a study conducted in part here at CSNW demonstrating that chimpanzees experience signs of post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorder, among other things, after being used as test subjects.
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810/HR.1513) , which CSNW formally supports, and introduced in the Senate by our very own Senator Maria Cantwell, would phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive testing over three years. If you think that’s a good idea, be sure to lend your voice to the cause.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is re-considering the issue of the chimpanzee “split listing” under the Endangered Species Act. There’s a complex history here, but the short version is that there is a special rule in effect which completely excludes captive chimpanzees from any protection under the Endangered Species Act. The record behind that decision is questionable at best. Reclassifying captive chimpanzees as endangered would eliminate the special rule and go a long way toward adding protection for our captive chimpanzee friends. The USFWS has called for public comment on this – you can submit your comments here.
As we’ve written about before, a group of chimpanzees living in Alamogordo, NM were slated by the federal government to move from their facility (where no research was being conducted) back into research. Although 14 chimpanzees had already been moved, including Jody’s son Levi, the remainder of the group were given a temporary reprieve after public outcry and pending the outcome of further federal investigation.
At the request of the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine formed a committee charged with coming up with a report on whether chimpanzees are or will be necessary for biomedical research. The committee is accepting ongoing public comment here, and is expected to issue its report by the end of this year. The Washington Post did a write up after the most recent meeting of the committee. One of the most compelling pieces of information that came out of the last meeting? The FDA has a policy not to request data from chimpanzee studies, and it discourages submission of such data.
Finally (for now) a petition submitted to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (under the USDA) seeks an investigation into the decision that sent Levi and his 13 companions back into research.
There are so many balls in the air right now, it really does feel like the tides are turning. Please share your voice where you can!