May 3, 2010
|Animal advocates gathered at HSLF's headquarters to speak out |
against the use of chimps in research.
On Sunday, May 2, animal advocates in more than 25 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and even Germany, gathered at Chimp Retirement Party Animals events to express their support of the Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326), which would retire hundreds of chimps living in research labs to sanctuary.
Click here to view the Flickr slideshow >>
HSLF President Michael Markarian led the call from HSLF headquarters in Washington, DC.
Markarian opened the call by discussing the critical need for Congress to pass the Great Ape Protection Act. Markarian mentioned that most of the 1,000 chimpanzees stuck in research labs are not even used in active experiments, but those who are used are forced to live alone in cold, metal cages approximately the size of small closets. Chimps are highly intelligent, socially complex, and long-lived creatures, and they experience emotions similar to humans. Many chimps currently confined in research facilities have lived for decades behind bars some since well before man first landed on the moon.
"Chimps can live to be 60 years old and every chimp born into the federal system is a $1 million commitment by the federal government," said Markarian "It's a fiscal disaster, and more importantly it's an animal care disaster, and we need to get these chimps out of labs and into sanctuary. Every other developed nation has done it, and the United States can do it too."
Joining Markarian on the call was Sarah Baeckler, Executive Director of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW). CSNW houses seven chimps, commonly known as the "Lucky Seven." For the majority of their lives, these chimps were used for hepatitis vaccine trials and to breed more chimpanzees for biomedical research. Before coming to sanctuary, the chimpanzees were housed in a windowless basement of a laboratory with no access to the outdoors. Sarah discussed the lives of these chimps at the sanctuary, where they are able to experience sunshine, socialize with each other and live out the rest of their lives in peace and tranquility.
Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), who is a lead sponsor of the Great Ape Protection Act, also participated in the nationwide conference call. As a former scientist who used animals in research, Bartlett stated that with the development of new technologies, there's really no need to use chimps in research.
"I'm very pleased to join in this effort to try to phase out this research and move these great apes. There are sanctuaries waiting for them, and we'd like to see them go there" said Rep. Bartlett.
Please urge your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor and support H.R. 1326. Click here to send a message to your legislator >>