A Moral Obligation: PCRM Scientist’s Paper Supports the Great Ape Protection Act
A new paper by animal behavior expert Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., raises serious ethical questions about the use of chimpanzees in experiments and provides evidence for the provisions of the Great Ape Protection Act. In May’s Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Dr. Balcombe assesses the evidence and finds that chimpanzees, like humans, seek pleasure and express a broad range of complex emotions.
“When we keep chimpanzees and other animals in laboratory cages, we deny them the opportunity to live any semblance of a normal existence,” says Dr. Balcombe. “The proposal to end experiments on chimpanzees is an urgent moral issue requiring immediate action.”
Dr. Balcombe wrote Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., a letter explaining his paper’s findings and asking Waxman to co-sponsor GAPA. As a prominent member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Waxman could play a pivotal role in moving the legislation forward.
Dr. Balcombe’s paper, “Animal Pleasure and Its Moral Significance,” includes evidence that different species seek pleasure through play, food, sex, and touch. Based on his findings, Balcombe argues that our current treatment of nonhuman primates, and other animals, is profoundly out of step with what we now know about animals’ sensitivity, emotion, and awareness.
Many chimpanzees have spent 40 years or more in laboratory cages. The Great Ape Protection Act could change the fate of chimpanzees and allow them to live their remaining years in sanctuaries.
The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) would:
Please ask your U.S. representative to co-sponsor GAPA. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or look up your representative’s phone number at www.Congress.org.
You can also send an automatic e-mail to your representative at PCRM.org/GAPA.