To the Editor:
The United States is the last country still using chimpanzees in large-scale invasive experiments. But a bipartisan bill just introduced in the Senate would phase out these experiments and release chimpanzees to sanctuaries.
As a primatologist, I'm hopeful that more members of Congress will voice their support for the Great Ape Protection Act, S. 3694. This bill is crucial to advancing both the ethics and science of medical research.
We know that chimpanzees are highly intelligent, sensitive animals. As a result of their use in experiments, they can experience early separation from their mothers, social isolation, and repeated physical harm. These factors cause enormous suffering even leading to symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although chimpanzees are our closest genetic relatives, there are significant differences in genetic expression, physiology and disease susceptibility. Millions of wasted dollars and decades of failed research have shown that chimpanzees are poor models for human disease.
By releasing more than 500 federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries, the Great Ape Protection Act will save taxpayers $20-25 million annually.
Urge your members of Congress to sign on to the Great Ape Protection Act.
Debra Durham, Ph.D,
Senior Research Scientist,
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,