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.