Boston, MA―March 5, 2009―The Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA), H.R. 1326 was introduced today in Congress. Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories applauds the bill’s lead sponsors: Reps. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, David Reichert, R-WA, Jim Langevin, D-RI, and Roscoe Bartlett, R-MD, and a long list of other cosponsors, for their commitment and continued attention to the urgent need for this legislation.
Project R&R is asking all members to contact their representatives immediately and ask them to cosponsor the bill.
Last night, an ABC Nightline segment featured a nine-month undercover investigation of New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Louisiana by HSUS that captured footage of the psychological and physical suffering of chimpanzees at NIRC. A 108-page complaint filed with USDA contains 338 alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The exposé brought the attention of millions to the plight of chimpanzees and monkeys languishing in U.S. labs, promising the groundswell of support needed to pass GAPA into law.
“The realities for chimpanzees and other primates in labs have been brought to light,” said Jarrod Bailey, PhD, geneticist and NEAVS/Project R&R science director. “Laboratories and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) must be held accountable for the bad science, suffering and waste of taxpayer dollars. It is wrong for chimpanzees and for us that their use continues despite being poor, ineffective models to study human disease and despite the toll captivity and experiments on them take. It’s time to end their use and move precious funding into modern, humane and scientifically superior alternatives.”
According to Theodora Capaldo, EdD, president of NEAVS/Project R&R and a psychologist who has co-authored papers on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in chimpanzees from labs, “The exposé offers a glimpse at the psychological distress chimpanzees and monkeys in labs endure. Deprivation; social isolation; ‘knockdowns’; mishandling; and lack of technicians’ empathy leave them reduced to constant agitation, fear, depression, and even self-mutilation. The toll chimpanzees suffer in laboratories coupled with how unnecessary and unproductive this research is demand an immediate end to their use. Like humans who suffer trauma, chimpanzees require care and compassion to heal. They deserve nothing less…and they deserve it now.”
In 2006 NEAVS launched its campaign Project R&R to end the use of the first non-human species―chimpanzees and all great apes―in U.S. research. The Great Ape Protection Act, H.R. 1326 will end the use of chimpanzees and all great apes in invasive research, retire all federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuary, end federal funding for such research anywhere in the world and offer other long overdue and precedent setting protections for animals in research.