Actress Emily Deschanel Fights for Chimpanzees
On Fox’s hit TV show Bones, Emily Deschanel’s character solves crimes against people. In real life, Deschanel is helping to end cruelty against chimpanzees.
Deschanel recently wrote a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, asking him to co-sponsor the Towns-Reichert Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326). This bipartisan legislation would phase out invasive experiments on chimpanzees and release all federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries.
The United States is the only country that still makes large-scale use of chimpanzees in invasive research. Many people are becoming aware of the pain and suffering these animals endure in laboratories, and many scientists are also concerned about scientific problems in using data from apes to solve problems in human health. HIV research, for example, has shown that viruses that cause fatal illness in humans have little or no effect in chimpanzees, highlighting immune system differences between the species.
In her letter, Deschanel explains that many chimpanzees may spend 40 or more years in a cage the size of a kitchen table. The Great Ape Protection Act would allow the roughly 500 federally owned chimpanzees remaining in research facilities to live their remaining years in a sanctuary.
After years of misery, they “could form bonds with other chimpanzees, bask in the sunlight, and feel the grass and the earth,” Deschanel wrote. “That’s the least we can do for chimpanzees, our species’ closest living relatives.”
To learn more about chimpanzees in laboratories and urge your U.S. representative to co-sponsor the Great Ape Protection Act, please visit PCRM.org/GAPA.