Written by Michelle Kretzer
Just hours after the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) announced the findings of its long-awaited report on the scientific validity of experiments on chimpanzees, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which commissioned the report, announced that it was suspending funding for any new experiments on chimpanzees. All currently funded experiments on chimpanzees will be re-evaluated, and funding for many may end.
You may remember that we testified at the IOM committee's hearing on the issue last summer. The committee listened to us and to the scientists who testified and concluded that "most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary."
© Smileus | iStockPhoto.com
NIH had originally commissioned the study in response to the outcry from PETA and other animal protection groups when the agency tried to pull more than 200 chimpanzees out of retirement at the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico and send them back to laboratories. PETA, politicians, and other animal advocates stopped the move, and now, none of the chimpanzees at Alamorgordo, or any other NIH-owned chimpanzees not currently enrolled in experiments, can be used pending a further review by NIH.
This may well be the beginning of the end of chimpanzee experimentation. However, until these experiments are permanently banned, hundreds of chimpanzees are still in peril, which is why it remains vital that Congress pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would phase out the use of all chimpanzees in invasive experiments and permanently retire more than 600 federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries, where they could live in peace at last. You can help by clicking here to urge your congressional representatives to pass this groundbreaking law and end the use of all great apes in experiments.
Written by PETA
Experts are calling on director Cameron Crowe
to stop using primates as props in his films, like his upcoming We Bought a Zoo:
see an animal in a movie, commercial, or print advertisement, please let us know email@example.com so that we can take
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
a true sign of the times, the editors at Scientific American,
one of the most widely read scientific publications in the world, now agree
with PETA that experiments on chimpanzees should be banned.
"That chimps and humans react to trauma in a
like manner should not come as a surprise. Chimps are our closest living
relatives and share a capacity for emotion, including fear, anxiety, grief and
rage," write the editors. "In our view, the time has come to end
biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees."
the editorial will sway members of Congress to
support the Great Ape
Protection and Cost Savings Act,
which would end invasive testing on all great apes and allow more than 500
chimpanzees in labs to be released to sanctuaries. And we are certain that the editorial will
make its way to the desks of the members of the National Academy of Sciences'
Institute of Medicine (IOM) chimpanzee experimentation review
committee, at whose hearing PETA testified
this summer. The IOM is scheduled to release its much-anticipated report on the
issue in December. A positive report could help propel passage of the federal
a ban would mean far better living conditions after more than five long decades
at 57 the oldest living chimpanzee in a U.S. laboratory. She is one of more
than 100 chimpanzees imprisoned at the Yerkes primate laboratory at Emory
University in Atlanta and has spent almost her entire life in a laboratory—she
was born in a laboratory cage, torn away from her mother, and locked away in a
dark room for the first 17 months of her life. The only time that she has spent outside a
laboratory was when she was briefly sold as a "pet" in the mid-1950s
before quickly being returned to a laboratory.
past weekend, members of Georgia Animal Rights and Protection, gathered outside Emory
University to call for the release of Wenka to a sanctuary, where she can live out her last
few years with some freedom and autonomy. So far, Yerkes is refusing,
claiming that Wenka is needed for "aging" research. If officials wait
much longer, we suppose they will say that she is needed for "death"
take a moment to tell your
senators and representatives
that you support this bill (H.R. 1513/S. 810) and ask them to spare Wenka and
other chimpanzees from testing.
by Heather Faraid Drennan
In an essay posted today on The Huffington Post, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk talks about the progress being made in behalf of chimpanzees in laboratories and posits that great apes appear to have at long last reached a turning point with the introduction of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would phase out all invasive experiments on great apes and mandate the retirement to sanctuaries of all 500 chimpanzees currently held in federally funded laboratories.
"These chimpanzees, hundreds of them, have been alone all those decades: no mate, no child, no friend to comfort them, to help them get through the pain of whatever experiment they are being subjected to," writes Ingrid. "Being possessed of the ability to anticipate, they could only dread the next ordeal―a lung biopsy, perhaps, an injection, an infection―who knows? They don't."
Ingrid notes how far chimpanzees have come since she attended a symposium on alternatives to animal experiments 30 years ago at which a famous chimpanzee experimenter, Dr. Alfred Prince, was labeled a turncoat by many of his colleagues for proposing a "Chimpanzee Bill of Rights" that proposed the then-radical idea that chimpanzees should be treated as more than test tubes with opposable thumbs.
"After Dr. Prince spoke, there was much mumbling and foot-shuffling in the auditorium," writes Ingrid. "Then, a red-faced scientist stood up and screamed―not spoke but screamed―that any talk of affording chimpanzees rights was nonsense. He was beside himself with rage as he accused anyone who cared about animals as using 'solely emotional arguments.' I stood up to say that there's nothing wrong (in fact there's often everything right) with being moved by the plight of others―for those who can't empathize include sociopaths―but I really didn't need to open my mouth. The irony of his fiercely emotional outburst said it all. I drove home thinking, 'It's started.' But look how long the journey has taken!"
"Animal liberation was once a wonderful dream, but now, starting with the chimpanzees, it is beginning to happen. Let's wish the other animals the best in winning their future freedom, too, and celebrate the eventual end of our role as their masters."
To read Ingrid’s essay in its entirety, visit HuffingtonPost.com.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Yesterday, PETA Associate Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman spoke at a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine meeting on the issue of whether the U.S. should continue to be the only industrialized nation in the world that conducts harmful experiments on chimpanzees and other great apes. Justin told the committee, “In 2011, it lacks academic integrity to deny that chimpanzees possess all of the qualities necessary for us to afford them the right not to be treated as laboratory equipment.”
Africa Expeditionary Force | cc by 2.0
He was joined by a host of scientists, doctors, and great ape experts, including world-renowned chimpanzee expert Dr. Jane Goodall, who resoundingly agreed that experiments on apes are not necessary in order to develop effective treatments for hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses that have often been cited as justification for experiments on chimpanzees.
Also supporting a ban on great-ape experiments is Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., who has introduced the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act in Congress. Bartlett is a former Navy physiologist who once experimented on primates. In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, he describes seeing chimpanzees suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and says that without question, they "experience pain, stress, and social isolation in ways strikingly similar to the way humans do."
You can help by urging your Congressional representatives to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Should a wild animal be forced to sell car insurance, dance the Macarena, and smoke cigars to provoke a laugh? Not that it matters if there were millions of chimpanzees around to abuse, but a new study concludes that chimpanzees may be doomed as a species as long as the public continues to see them in commercials and movies.
Scientist Steve Ross, founder of Project ChimpCARE and assistant director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, sums it up: "The inaccurate and frivolous portrayal of these complex and endangered primates should be of serious concern to anyone interested in animal care and safety. Whether intentional or not, these images are resulting in significant effects on perceptions of chimpanzees that may hinder critical conservation and welfare initiatives that much of the general public supports."
PETA has received pledges from 10 of the top 15 advertising agencies in the world not to use great apes in their ads. And watch for innovative high-tech alternatives in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opened last weekend. Not one live ape was used in this thriller—don't miss it!
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Yesterday, PETA filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for illegally issuing a permit to an animal exhibitor that would allow the exhibitor to harm, harass, and wound endangered species.
PETA has found several instances in which the FWS issued endangered species permits—which may be issued for "scientific purposes" or to enhance survival of an endangered species—to seedy roadside zoos while improperly keeping the application and the permit from the public. Roadside zoos breed animals in deplorable conditions solely to turn a profit.
We filed suit over one particularly miserable menagerie, Windy Oaks Farm in Hanover, Virginia, which is under formal investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after chimpanzees escaped from their enclosures three times, prompting PETA to call for an investigation.
Although captive chimpanzees are not currently listed as endangered, Windy Oaks' lack of experience with and knowledge of these complex and dangerous animals is indicative of its overall incompetence. The zoo has been cited by the USDA for failing to document when it acquired and disposed of animals and whether the animals had received veterinary care in more than a year. Windy Oaks also keeps endangered lemurs and gibbons, two species that have been known to attack humans.
Since PETA and the rest of the public were denied the right to view and comment on this application for a permit, we are taking the matter to court. We will keep you updated.
I hope you're as stoked as I am to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opens this Friday, August 5. The movie's message and CGI special effects are so animal-friendly that PETA has given director Rupert Wyatt a Proggy Award for recognizing that real great apes don't belong on production sets.
Given the impressive technology available now—and you'll see it in all its glory in this film—there's no need to hire wild-animal trainers who rip baby chimpanzees away from their mothers and physically abuse them to force them to perform on cue.
Run, walk, or swing through the trees—just don't wait to see this movie!
A PETA “chimpanzee” gives Rise of the Planet of the Apes two opposable thumbs up outside the premiere in Hollywood.
In his new movie Project Nim, which opens today in New York City and Chicago, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker James Marsh explores the tragic life of a chimpanzee, Nim Chimpsky, and the people who exploited him for their own selfish ends.
Born in a laboratory in the 1970s, Nim was taught American Sign Language as part of a project to show that it could be done. But that was just the beginning of Nim's odyssey. He was shuffled between homes, kept segregated from his own species, often caged and tethered, and eventually dumped onto a series of laboratories. Animal rights advocates fought to have him retired to a sanctuary and, for those of you who plan to see the movie, here's a spoiler alert: They were ultimately successful.
While Nim did learn sign language, the truly important lesson that he taught us is that nonhuman primates, like all other animals, desire and deserve the same freedom that human primates enjoy and that depriving them of it is devastating. Why, 30 years later, have we still not learned that lesson?
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Update: Eighteen people with homes near the Yerkes National Primate Research Center have filed a complaint with city and county officials demanding that the facility be shut down. The female rhesus monkey still has not been found.
It shouldn't come as any surprise that the 4,000 intelligent, sensitive nonhuman primates at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center would want to flee their misery and deadly fate. But a brave monkey who escaped her captors at Yerkes this week is now loose in a foreign and frightening environment, and she faces injury, starvation, and possibly worse, thanks to the facility's failure to maintain safe and secure enclosures. PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the laboratory for possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Yerkes, which is also one of the last facilities in the world to conduct invasive experiments on chimpanzees, has a sordid history of violations of federal animal welfare laws, including 10 violations in just the last two years and a $15,000 fine in 2007. It has been cited for scalding a monkey to death by allowing her to go through a boiling hot automated cage washer, restraining conscious primates with duct tape, and negligently causing the deaths of chimpanzees. We are urging USDA inspectors to file civil charges and levy substantial fines to let Yerkes know that it means business and that experimenters cannot violate the law with impunity.
You can help our fellow primates imprisoned at Yerkes by asking Congress to end to all invasive experiments on great apes.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
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