Washington—John J. Pippin, M.D., director of academic affairs for the nonprofit Physicians Committee, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's June 11 announcement that it is extending full protection to captive chimpanzees:
"As a physician who was invited to testify before a scientific panel examining the usefulness of chimpanzee experimentation, I’m thrilled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending full protection to captive chimpanzees.
“Full protection under the Endangered Species Act is long overdue for chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. The new status is a tremendous change that ends the completely unprotected current status of captive chimpanzees.
“Endangered species protection means that privately-owned chimpanzees—including Emma and Reggie who live at a research facility in Louisiana—will now likely be off-limits to invasive experiments.
“Use of chimpanzees in entertainment or as pets will likely also be severely restricted—and our wild cousins will be allowed to live in dignity.
“The Institute of Medicine panel charged with examining the necessity of chimpanzee experimentation could not find a single area of disease research for which the animals are essential.
“Chimpanzees have repeatedly proven to be poor models for many areas of human disease research, such as HIV, malaria, and other infectious diseases, neuroscience research, and cancer.”
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.