High-Profile Ads and Award Highlight PCRM's Efforts to Protect Chimpanzees
“They stole her children,” declare advertisements featuring a chimpanzee named Foxie whose five babies were taken from her as infants for use in invasive laboratory experiments. In March, Foxie and two other former laboratory-owned chimpanzees began appearing in poster-size ads in Washington, D.C.-area Metro railcars. The ad campaign, sponsored by the PCRM Legislative Fund, a PCRM affiliate, urges support for the Great Ape Protection Act.
The ads, which reach congressional staffers traveling to Capitol Hill, also feature images of Negra, a chimpanzee captured in the wild who spent decades in a laboratory cage, 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.”
The Great Ape Protection Act, H.R. 1326, which now has more than 140 co-sponsors from the U.S. House of Representatives, would phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive experiments and retire federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries.
The next steps are to convince senators to introduce a companion bill and to persuade Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., to hold a hearing on the House bill.
But the compelling advertisements are not the only effort building momentum for passage of the Great Ape Protection Act. PCRM’s “End Chimpanzee Experiments, Pass the Great Ape Protection Act” idea on Change.org was one of 10 winners in the Ideas for Change in America contest. Change.org will present PCRM’s Idea for Change to relevant members of the Obama administration and assist in PCRM’s campaign to pass the Great Ape Protection Act.
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.
To learn more, visit PCRM.org/GAPA.
Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., Ph.D.
PCRM Online, April 2010