Written by Jeff Mackey
Just six months after PETA announced that it had purchased stock in BIOQUAL—the company formerly known as "SEMA"—to urge it to phase out the
use of chimpanzees in experiments, the Washington Post reports that the company is doing just that.
BIOQUAL's announcement comes 25 years after Jane Goodall called for the closure of SEMA after undercover video footage released by PETA
revealed abysmal conditions in the lab. Baby chimpanzees were locked inside tiny
steel boxes in complete isolation and exhibited signs of insanity, rocking
incessantly in their dark cages. The misery of the SEMA chimpanzees is
documented in PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's landmark book Free the Animals.
Until this development, little but its name seemed to have
changed at BIOQUAL. PETA recently used the Freedom of Information Act to secure
descriptions of BIOQUAL's experiments on chimpanzees. We learned that in one
experiment, six infant chimpanzees—some as young as 9 months of age—were taken
from their mothers, caged individually, exposed to a virus, and subjected to
months of painful liver, bone marrow, lymph node, and intestinal biopsies. This April, we
pointed out in official comments submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that these and other
experiments on chimpanzees at BIOQUAL were considered unnecessary by the Institute of Medicine in its landmark report on the scientific validity of experiments on
chimpanzees, and we called on the NIH to discontinue its funding.
Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, with psychological and physical needs that are strikingly similar to our own. They
are intelligent, have unique personalities, and are capable of experiencing
profound suffering. However, this has not saved them from being imprisoned,
stripped of their autonomy, and used in invasive and sometimes painful
experiments. The U.S. is the only developed country that continues to use
chimpanzees in invasive experiments, but the pending Great Ape Protection and
Cost Savings Act would ban invasive experiments on chimpanzees and retire more
than 600 federally owned chimpanzees.
Please tell your congressional representatives that all chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories should be
sent to reputable sanctuaries and allowed to live out their remaining years in
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.