WASHINGTON—"They stole her children," declares a new Metro advertisement featuring a chimpanzee named Foxie whose five babies were taken from her as infants for use in invasive laboratory experiments. Beginning March 24, Foxie and two other former laboratory-owned chimpanzees will appear in ads in Metro railcars on the Red, Blue, and Orange lines. The ad campaign, sponsored by the PCRM Legislative Fund, urges support for a bill in Congress that would end such experiments.
The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326), which has more than 140 congressional co-sponsors, would phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive experiments and retire federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries. The United States is the last country in the world that permits and funds large-scale chimpanzee research and testing, despite evidence that such experiments have failed to translate into human health benefits.
The Metro ads, which will reach congressional staffers traveling to Union Station and the Capitol South Metro Station, will also feature images of Negra, a chimpanzee captured in the wild who spent decades in laboratory cages, and Jamie, who was locked in a windowless basement in a laboratory for years. Psychologically damaged by isolation, Jamie plucked out her own hair until she was partially bald. All three chimpanzees now live at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Washington state.
"Foxie, Jamie, and Negra were locked up in laboratory cages for decades, and they suffered immensely," says Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., director of research policy for PCRM. "These chimpanzees' stories highlight why we need to pass the Great Ape Protection Act. It's time for the United States to join countries like the United Kingdom, which ended experiments on these intelligent animals years ago."
Approximately 1,000 chimpanzees live in laboratories in the United States. Many are no longer used in active protocols because of scientific problems associated with using chimpanzees to research human health problems. Scientists have spent more than 25 years using chimpanzees in HIV/AIDS-related experiments that have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, but there is still no effective HIV vaccine.
Chimpanzees used in experiments can experience early separation from their mothers, social isolation, prolonged captivity, and repeated physical harm. One observational study by PCRM researchers found that chimpanzees used in experimental research commonly display abnormal behaviors similar to depression and anxiety disorders found in humans. ABC’s Nightline exposed the abuse of chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates and violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana.
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.