Despite the enormous progress the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA) made in Congress, the 112th legislative session ended Jan. 3, 2012 without it passing.
Nearly 1,000 chimpanzees are living in research laboratories in the United States. Some have been confined in labs for up to 50 years. At any given time, the vast majority are not involved in active research protocols—instead they are languishing, warehoused at taxpayers’ expense. According to the National Institutes of Health, the cost to U.S. taxpayers for chimpanzee research and maintenance is more than $60 million per year. The entire European Union, along with Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, have already banned or severely restricted the use of chimpanzees in invasive research. The United States is the only remaining developed nation in the world still using chimpanzees in invasive research.
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act would give chimpanzees—our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom—a humane retirement, while freeing up taxpayer money that should be spent more wisely. For a single chimpanzee, lifetime care in a research facility can cost over $1 million, compared with $340,000 for superior care in a sanctuary. Ending invasive research will mean a savings of more than $20 million per year for the American people.