Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee on Water and Wildlife heard testimony today on the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA, H.R.1513/S.810). GAPCSA would end the use of chimpanzees in invasive biomedical research and would retire all federally-owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary. Nearly 1,000 chimpanzees are currently warehoused in U.S. laboratories, and, as of May 2011, the U.S. government owned or supported 735 of these chimpanzees.
After attending the hearing, Dr. Theodora Capaldo, NEAVS’ executive director, expressed gratitude to Senator Boxer and Chairman Cardin for holding the hearing. On behalf of all of the chimpanzees still waiting to be rescued from laboratories, Dr. Capaldo also thanked Martin Wasserman, M.D., J.D., who has served as state health secretary for Maryland and Oregon and as the executive director of the Maryland State Medical Society, and who testified in support of GAPCSA. Dr. Wasserman’s testimony demonstrated sensitivity to both the scientific and ethical reasons to pass the bill. Dr. James Anderson testified on behalf of the National Institutes of Health.
The Institute of Medicine’s findings that chimpanzees are not necessary in any area of current biomedical research was reiterated at the hearing. NEAVS’ written testimony submitted to the subcommittee further emphasized key arguments against chimpanzees’ necessity or usefulness in biomedical research as well as the enormous suffering and psychological toll that laboratory research and confinement takes on chimpanzees. It was particularly telling that Dr. Anderson referred back to chimpanzees’ purported usefulness in polio and hepatitis A and B vaccine development, research that was conducted three to five decades ago. Such archaic examples inadvertently added credibility to current scientific conclusions that chimpanzees are no longer needed. On the other hand, Dr. Wasserman elaborated on current technologies that render chimpanzees an ineffective and unnecessary research “model.”
What you can do
In order to help keep GAPCSA on the legislative agenda, it is extremely important that your legislators hear from you. Send this automated letter asking your federal legislators to support an end to biomedical research on chimpanzees and ask that they cosponsor the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (H.R.1513/S.810).
Please urge your legislators to consider abstaining from a vote if they oppose the bill.