Have you heard about Brandon Wood? He is one of the most active chimpanzee advocates, always working tirelessly to help chimps through petitions, fundraisers, and tabling events. Did I mention he’s just 12 years old? He’s an inspiration! His latest project is a petition to a drug company Merck, a private biomedical testing lab, to stop biomedical testing on chimpanzees. Though the National Institutes of Health is moving toward retiring government-funded chimps in research, there are still many chimps in privately-funded labs. Lend Brandon a hand and help the chimps today by signing his petition! And don’t forget to share it with your friends, too.
As we discussed last week, the National Institute of Health (NIH) recently announced that they are “retiring” 110 chimps from the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Louisiana. Ten of those chimpanzees are going to Chimp Haven, a sanctuary not far from NIRC. The other 100? They are going to Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio. Though they say they won’t be used in any more invasive testing, this isn’t a true “retirement.” The chimpanzees should be going to a sanctuary like Chimp Haven or the other six members of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA).
Please sign our petition to the NIH and help give these 100 chimps a retirement in a true sanctuary. Then spread the petition by sending it to your contacts via email and posting on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Show the NIH that the public cares about chimpanzees and that we insist former biomedical chimpanzees go to true sanctuaries.
An independent committee of experts through the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released their report today regarding whether chimpanzees are necessary for biomedical and behavioral research. While they did not call for the immediate end to all research involving chimpanzees, they developed some very strict criteria for evaluating current and future scientific projects.
The committee was not tasked with the question of whether it was ethical to use chimpanzees in research, however they stated, “the committee feels strongly that any assessment of the necessity of using chimpanzees as an animal model raises ethical issues, and an analysis of necessity must take these ethical issues into account.”
The committee looked at all areas of current chimpanzee research receiving federal funds and concluded that, “most (emphasis added) current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary, based on the criteria established by the committee…”
As Dr. Pippin, a cardiologist and former animal researcher who was representing the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said, the release of this study is a “watershed moment” for chimpanzees. Now it is up to the NIH to decide how to respond to this report from the committee they commissioned. Their response is expected shortly.
*Update – the NIH Director’s response is here. The Director of NIH says, “I have considered the report carefully and have decided to accept the IOM committee recommendations.”
So far the NIH has not budged on their plans to transfer 202 chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.
The chimpanzees have gotten some celebrity support recently, though – Gene Hackman wrote a letter to the head of NIH asking to halt this transfer. Check out this excerpt from his letter (it gave me chills in a good way):
“As you know, efforts to save the Alamogordo chimpanzee have drawn support from Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Tom Udall, and many other people around the state and across the country. I join them in urging you to fulfill the National Institutes of Health’s goal to ‘exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science’ by allowing these chimpanzees to live out their lives in the safety of a sanctuary.”
Read the full letter here: http://pcrm.org/resch/alamogordo/hackman.html
If you haven’t already, please contact the government about this issue. Your tax money is funding the laboratory housing and future experimentation on these chimpanzees.
Find out more ways you can help by following this blog for updates, as well as:
A very disturbing piece of news was published a few days ago about chimpanzees currently living at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. For the original article, click here.
(APF is not to be confused with the sanctuary Save the Chimps, who rescued 266 chimpanzees from research in 2002, and is moving chimpanzees from the facility they own near APF to islands in Florida.)
Alamogordo Primate Facility is being run by Charles River Laboratories under a contract from the National Institutes of Heath (NIH). The laboratory has come under serious scrutiny many times over the years, and even charged with animal cruelty, though the stipulations of their NIH contract prevent the chimpanzees from being used in invasive research.
Now, the NIH has decided to close APF and transfer the chimpanzees to research laboratories where they could be put into invasive biomedical research. It is a tragic and backwards move for those 200 individuals and for the protection of chimpanzees in general.
The group Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) is trying to fight this move, and they encourage everyone to contact their representatives about this issue, whether they live in New Mexico or not. These chimpanzees are supported by our tax dollars and we have a say in how that money is to be spent.
APNM would like the chimpanzees to stay in Alamogordo and for a sanctuary to take over the facility to allow the permanent retirement of the chimpanzees.
Please call your federal representatives or write a polite email or letter to them. For talking points, visit the APNM webpage on the issue and read this strong editorial from the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico’s major newspaper, published this morning:
Link to article: http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/editorials/162128150871opinioneditorials07-16-10.htm
Friday, July 16, 2010
Feds’ Chimp Transfer A Lose-Lose-Lose Deal
The federal government’s plan to move chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a San Antonio lab is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to believe someone with all 23 human chromosome pairs approved it.
â€¢ Morally, it’s abhorrent to take more than 200 sentient beings that have spent decades living with the endless boredom, confinement, fear and stress of laboratory life and â€” after a 10-year hiatus from testing â€” thrust them back into it because a bureaucrat at the National Institutes of Health thinks “mechanisms for increasing the cost-effectiveness of chimpanzee breeding, maintenance, and research must be developed.”
â€¢ Fiscally, it’s irresponsible because there is no cost-effectiveness to chimp research. The lifetime tab for maintaining one chimpanzee in a lab has been estimated at nearly $900,000. Animal Protection of New Mexico says converting APF â€” where the chimps now live â€” to a sanctuary would save taxpayers $50 million. It would also keep 42 jobs in Alamogordo.
Sending the 200-plus chimps to Texas will also incur the taxpayer-funded expense of retrofitting the Southwest Foundation National Primate Research Center so it can accommodate animals that weigh up to 170 pounds. The facility was built for macaques, which weigh only about 30 pounds.
â€¢ Scientifically, it’s wasteful. While chimpanzees and humans have genetic similarities, they are so different on a cellular level that research into a long list of infectious diseases has proven fruitless. After more than four decades of chimp research into hepatitis C, there is still no human vaccine â€” in part because chimps don’t transmit the disease like humans. Chimps also develop heart disease and cancer in completely different ways. They don’t develop AIDS and die from HIV, the reason the government’s ill-conceived breeding program has created a surplus of infected, captive animals.
There are solid reasons why no other developed nation in the world still uses chimps for testing; countries from Australia to the United Kingdom have banned the practice. And yet the United States, circa 2010, plans to take animals that have already unknowingly given their health and freedom, and incur additional taxpayer expense for what, exactly?
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall has requested a meeting with the NIH. The rest of the state’s congressional delegation should join him, and each member must demand answers and alternatives that address this plan’s moral, fiscal and scientific problems.
Today at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, we remember Tom Chimpanzee, who lived at the Fauna Foundation sanctuary in Quebec for the last several years of his life. Tom died in December of last year. We remember him today because May 1st was his celebrated birthday at Fauna. Please read more about him from our December 18th blog post. We will never forget you, Tommy.
See what’s coming up on the Sponsor-a-Day calendar and dedicate a day in memory of a loved one.
Yesterday, we sent out a letter from Sarah to e-news subscribers about what sanctuary means for Negra and asking people to contribute to our anniversary fundraising. Share the letter by emailing it to friends, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. You can do all of that from the letter posted on our site here.
Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter if you aren’t already. If you think you’ve signed up before and are still not receiving newsletters, email me.
The anniversary fundraising is off to a solid start. I’ve heard from a few more people with great fundraising ideas. I’m very excited! Margaret has already set up a Firstgiving page. She’s giving a card featuring a painting she has done of one of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees for donations of just $30. Keep the ideas and support coming and together let’s give Negra a little more sunshine.