Last week we sent out a newsletter regarding the good news from the NIH working group who met last Tuesday. To review some of the main points from the report, read Sarah’s blog here. They made several recommendations, but the biggest bottom line is: most of the chimpanzees currently being used in research should be retired into the Federal Sanctuary System, but a small number (they suggested around 50) should be held back in a reserve colony for possible future research.
The next step in the process is to solicit public comment regarding the recommendations, which is located here. It is quite daunting in its length and detail—but don’t let that stop you. All you need to do is fill in your name, email, and then scroll all the way to the bottom to fill in a box labeled “Overall Comments.” If you want to be more specific, leave a comment in the field for “Chimpanzee Research Colony Size and Placement: Recommendation SP2.” You can get to that field easily by selecting the “colony size and placement” option from the drop menu at the top of the page.
In your comments, encourage the NIH to accept the recommendations, but also remind them that there is no reason to have any chimpanzees in research—not even a small group of 50. You could mention that no other industrialized nation tests on chimpanzees. Chimpanzees have complex social, psychological, and physical needs that cannot be met in labs. They have been imprisoned for a crime they did not commit, and are injected with diseases or vaccines, forced to undergo surgeries, sometimes kept in solitary confinement, and regularly shot with darts to be anesthetized. Remember to remain polite and be succinct. If you want to share what you submit in the comments section here for others to see, feel free! We’ll share a copy of what we submit soon too.
If you haven’t seen it already, check out this site called “The Last 1000” that is a countdown to the end of chimpanzees in biomedical laboratories. You’ll notice that Negra’s daughter Heidi is on the list along with Jody’s children Levi and April, and Foxie’s son David. These remaining research chimpanzees deserve the kind of life that the Cle Elum Seven have—one with friends, laughter, sunshine, good food, giant nests, fun enrichment, and perhaps most importantly—choices.