Annual Report 2016: President's Message

Annual Report 2016

Founded 1895 and Still "Standing"

2016 brought enormous success to NEAVS’ long-standing focus on non-animal alternatives and chimpanzees. Federal legislation introduced in 2015 gained momentum toward ending cosmetics testing on animals. And, our fellowship grant was awarded to a promising scientist working with a heart-on-a-chip.

Campaigns that began in 2002 with the rescue of Arthur and Phoenix, chimpanzees sold from a lab into entertainment and housed at a rundown zoo—culminated in unprecedented victory with NIH’s announcement to end funding for biomedical research on chimpanzees and retire them to sanctuary. That same campaign track led to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finally granting captive chimpanzees protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Still, bureaucracy being what it is compelled NEAVS to focus on eight chimpanzees from Yerkes’ laboratory destined to be shipped overseas into entertainment after a lifetime in a lab. Their new protections under the ESA, perversely, didn’t protect them.

NEAVS took this campaign on because the rippling effects are extensive. FWS violated public trust following its up-listing of captive chimpanzees to endangered, by allowing these chimpanzees to be exported for exploitation at a zoo where they’ll spend their remaining lives on exhibition. They deserved, morally and legally, the safety of sanctuary that U.S. law should have afforded them.

We lost our lawsuit against FWS on “standing.” That is, while the judge’s summary could not have been more supportive of our legal arguments,  she then lowered an axe. She decided those of us who brought suit did not have the “legal standing” to act on behalf of these chimpanzees. Without legal standing, we are powerless to work on behalf of animals. Weak laws with loopholes big enough to drive atrocities through, and the courts, force us to abandon the myth that any animal is truly protected by any law.

In 2017, we’ll join the finest U.S. attorneys to undo the absurdity of the words “lack of standing.” This will be one of our most important campaigns. Like past work, it may take years. When we prevail, those working hard to seek justice for animals will have a solid platform to stand on—not the flimsy laws we have to rely on today.

We consider our work for the Yerkes 8 a success although we didn’t prevail in getting them to sanctuary. Because of NEAVS, the judge’s language serves the next case, until justice is within every animal’s reach—through his or her own paw, hand, hoof, fin or claw, and through the human hands working to protect them.

Thank you for being an important part of NEAVS!

For the animals,

Theodora Capaldo, EdD

To view the full 2016 Annual Report, please click here. 

For more info about NEAVS' work in 2016, check out the Summer 2016 UPDATE and 2016 Winter UPDATE