Actress Emily Deschanel, who plays a crime-solving scientist on the TV show Bones, recently wrote to Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, urging him to return 14 chimpanzees to a nonresearch facility in New Mexico who were transferred to a controversial laboratory in San Antonio, Texas, for use in invasive experiments:
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
Dear Dr. Collins,
I play a crime-solving forensic scientist on TV, but I’m contacting you today about a real-life crime against animals. I urge you to move the 14 Alamogordo chimpanzees who were moved to a Texas laboratory back to their home in New Mexico.
I’m thrilled that the National Institutes of Health has suspended plans to move the 186 chimpanzees who live at the Alamogordo Primate Facility to Southwest National Primate Research Center. But I am concerned about the well-being of the 14 chimpanzees who were moved to Southwest before this decision was made. These aging chimpanzees were moved from near retirement in New Mexico to a facility that conducts painful, invasive experiments on animals and has a long history of animal abuse.
All of the Alamogordo chimpanzees have already been subjected to so much pain and suffering. Many of them were used in painful, invasive experiments for decades before being finally retired in Alamogordo. All of them, including the 14 who are now at Southwest, deserve to live out their lives in peace.
Each individual chimpanzee has his or her own story. As you know, their stories are all filled with pain and suffering. But you have an opportunity to help give these 14 chimpanzees’ stories a happy ending. Please move these animals back to Alamogordo where they are safe from harm, and create a sanctuary for them there.
We do not need chimpanzees for medical research—we have better ways of learning about human diseases and treatments from them. Let’s move on and invest in modern human-centered medical research. Please allow these chimpanzees to live out their remaining years as comfortably and peacefully as possible.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.