In support of the Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA, H.R. 1326), NEAVS/Project R&R joined Fauna Foundation, Chimp Haven, and HSUS for a Congressional briefing which brought the plight of chimpanzees in U.S. labs front and center to Capitol Hill. The panel included two of the bill’s lead sponsors, Rep. Bartlett (R-MD) and Ashley Wilson on behalf of Rep. Towns (D-NY).
Attendees in the full-to-capacity room learned about the history and current use (Katie Conlee, HSUS) of chimpanzees in research; saw footage of an undercover lab investigation (Wayne Pacelle, HSUS); learned about the scientific “Case to End Chimpanzee Research”; and “met” Tom, Fauna resident and Project R&R Ambassador.
Rep. Bartlett and Ms. Wilson gave compelling summaries as to why they are taking leadership on the bill. A former head of a primate lab, Rep. Bartlett paused after viewing undercover footage of the New Iberia Research Center. He expressed his regret and bewilderment that little has changed since he worked in an animal lab, decades ago. He commented on how modern alternatives could and should replace the use of chimpanzees. Ms. Wilson gave an informative summary of the issue and reasons why Mr. Towns introduced the legislation. Dr. Capaldo, NEAVS/Project R&R president, reported on our progress in her presentation: “The Case to End Chimpanzee Research: Scientific, Ethical, and Economic Arguments.” She noted, “NEAVS/Project R&R promised that we would scientifically examine the facts surrounding the use of chimpanzees in research. We have brought together a team of international scientists and have already produced five published scientific papers.”