According to the World Bank Group, “Corruption prevails where there is ample opportunity for corruption at little cost. Incentive structures encourage corrupt behavior.” When you allow bad behavior to be rewarded, you get more bad behavior. While some of us have the moral fortitude that impels honesty, fairness and kindness, others use every opportunity to satisfy their greed.
It is no exaggeration that many lab directors operate from self-interest in the guise of helping humanity. Let’s look at the most
recent example of this that NEAVS is taking on: The CHIMP Act requires that chimpanzees no longer needed for research be retired. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is mandated to determine retirement eligibility. But the Secretary has relinquished this authority to the labs. The result: chimpanzees who should be eligible for sanctuary are being held in labs which profit from federal dollars for maintaining them.
To my mind, this is corruption at its worst: someone suffers because it does not serve those with the power to end their suffering to do so.
While NEAVS celebrates the progress of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, the positive response to the Rulemaking Petition to upgrade captive chimpanzees from threatened to endangered, and other efforts to end the use of the first non-human species in research, we leave no stone unturned. We have filed a Rulemaking Petition (see cover story) with HHS to define when a chimpanzee is eligible for retirement, asking the agency not to allow the self-interest of labs to corrupt the spirit and intention of the CHIMP Act by not retiring chimpanzees who are eligible to be retired to sanctuary under existing law.
The Petition would mean the immediate and permanent retirement of hundreds of chimpanzees, and would be a major assault on the financial motivations for labs to keep them.
Everyone knows how unnecessary chimpanzee use is. And everyone knows that as long as money is to be had, the labs will argue that—in spite of their own history of diminishing and now virtually non-existent use—chimpanzees must remain in U.S. labs for the benefit of human kind. We will not accept unkindness or dishonesty. Lab directors who insist on keeping chimpanzees and allowing them to languish, despite their clear eligibility for retirement, defy the spirit and intention of the CHIMP Act. This must be stopped.
While NEAVS works hard to pass GAPCSA, we wage our fight on several different fronts. This newly filed Rulemaking Petition is one more battleground. There is a lot of corruption in the world of science that perpetuates the myth of the utility and necessity of using animals. We will shine a light on every single area where greed disguised as good prevails. And one day, with your continued support, honesty and kindness will prevail.
Theodora Capaldo, EdD