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U.S. should stop chimpanzee experimentation

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As a primatologist who has worked closely with chimpanzees who are refugees of the animal-testing industry, I was delighted to learn that the European Union has banned the use of great apes in experimentation.

This move further isolates the U.S., which remains the only developed country that continues to torment chimpanzees in invasive experiments.

We have long known that chimpanzees share nearly 99 percent of our DNA, that they are intelligent, highly emotional, have unique personalities, and forge deep, lasting relationships. Yet, almost 1,000 of these magnificent beings have been robbed of their health, families, and freedom to be used as unwilling subjects in U.S. laboratories.

I have seen first-hand the devastating consequences that years of social isolation and cruel experiments have on these sensitive animals, who experience profound suffering, fear, and loneliness, just as humans do.

The U.S. government currently has two unprecedented opportunities to spare our closest genetic relatives from this grim fate.

By permanently retiring the 200 chimpanzees currently housed at New Mexico's Alamogordo Primate Facility and passing the Great Ape Protection Act, the U.S. can demonstrate to the world that it recognizes what good science has been telling us for years -- our next of kin deserve better. To find out more, please visit www.PETA.org. -- Julia Gallucci, M.S. Primatologist, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Los Angeles, Calif.

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