Over the past seven years, NEAVS’ focused program Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories has pulled together experts in psychology, chimpanzee behavior, genetics, biomedical research, veterinary medicine, pathology, and other areas to critically examine the scientific value of and need for chimpanzee experiments, and the psychological and physical impact laboratory life and research has on chimpanzees’ suitability as research subjects and well-being. Though a national organization with an international presence, NEAVS has a proud 117 year history as a Boston based 501 (c) 3 animal protection organization—one of the first in the country.
The result of this scientific approach to our ethical concerns is a considerable body of evidence published in peer-reviewed journals, which demonstrates that chimpanzee research is neither necessary for, nor even helpful to, human scientific and medical progress. Given the breadth of these comprehensive studies, and the contribution they have made to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) hearings and conclusions regarding chimpanzees, we respectfully ask that the Subcommittee consider our studies in its deliberations and vote the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA) favorably out of committee. We offer here a summary of our studies (full papers available on request) in the hope that our input will be considered.1
Some long-standing yet unsubstantiated arguments in support of chimpanzee research were offered as testimony to the IOM inquiry. On weight of evidence, the IOM dismissed those arguments, concluding that there is no current scientific need for invasive chimpanzee research. Some of those arguments put forth are cited below with our rebuttals.
Presented together, we believe the studies cited below provide compelling evidence that GAPCSA will have no negative and significant positive implications for human health. GAPCSA would ensure that a demonstrably poor research model would be replaced by more human-relevant and cost-effective research methods; would ensure superior care for the chimpanzees who have spent decades in labs; and would provide significant savings to the taxpayer.
We provide below a précis of this evidence, and also include for the Subcommittee’s attention summaries of the associated publications.