Thursday, August 6, 2009

Urge Congress to Support the Great Ape Protection Act

One thousand chimpanzees in the United States need your help! The Great Ape Protection Act, HR 1326 would finally prohibit invasive research on chimpanzees. But the bill needs more support—and your federal representative has not yet joined the 58 representatives co-sponsoring the bill.

Under the language of HR 1326, which is supported by Democrats and Republicans, chimpanzees could no longer be subjected to “death, bodily injury, pain, distress, fear, injury, trauma, isolation, social deprivation, or other experimental manipulations…”.

Chimpanzees owned by the federal government would be released to sanctuaries to live out the remainder of their lives, just as they have been in several other countries.

Chimpanzees suffer from stress and trauma remarkably much like humans. Their needs cannot be met in a laboratory environment. Most chimpanzees in research are kept in isolation, but chimpanzees are naturally social. Their psychological well-being requires group coordination, kinship structure (families being together), and cultural development.

Although chimpanzees are our closest genetic relatives, there are significant differences in how those genes are expressed. And differences between chimpanzees and humans significantly influence responses to drugs and pathogens like viruses and bacteria.

After over two decades of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) research in chimpanzees, there should be no doubt that chimpanzee research has failed to produce an HIV vaccine for humans. Physiological differences between humans and chimpanzees also confound research on human diseases like hepatitis C.

Research funding should be spent on modern testing methods, such as ethical human-centered studies, computer simulation and mathematical modeling, microchip technology, microdosing, in vitro testing, and tissue engineering.

Please click here to EMAIL your representative and ask her or him to co-sponsor HR 1326!

Best regards,

Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H.
Director of Research Policy

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