PCWS Press Release
Release Date: October 30 2000
Contact: Hope Walker, President The Primate Conservation and Welfare Society (1-888-595-PCWS)
Contact: Dr. Craig Brestrup, The Association of Sanctuaries (254-898-8330)
Chimpanzees Face Uncertain Future in the Senate
For almost four years, several dozen of the nations top animal welfare
organizations and animal sanctuaries have been battling it out with the
National Institute of Health (NIH) over HR 3514, `Chimpanzee Health
Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection Act' - a bill which would allow
the NIH to retire an estimated 1,000 laboratory chimpanzees, which have
been deemed "surplus", into private primate sanctuaries across the United
Last month, when the bill passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee it looked like the chimpanzees just might win - and gain
a new, permanent retirement.
But, for the chimpanzees, all is not well on the hill.
Last week, Rep. Bliley, R-VA, Chairman of the House Commerce Committee
introduced an amendment to the bill, which allows the NIH to recall the
chimpanzees from these private sanctuaries any time - now or in future -
for additional research. Unfortunately, the amended version of the bill
also passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote.
"The amended version of the bill is not merely a compromise for the
chimpanzees, it undermines the entire premise of the original bill - to
provide permanent retirement to the chimpanzees -- and that is simply
appalling," stated Hope Walker, Executive Director of the Primate
Conservation and Welfare Society.
Eight national and international primate organizations, including two
national sanctuary associations - The Primate Conservation & Welfare
Society, The Association of Sanctuaries, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation
Inc., International Primate Protection League, National Sanctuary for
Retired Research Primates, Primate Freedom Project, American Sanctuary
Association and the Coalition to End Primate Experimentation - are all
asking the senate to reverse the changes to HR 3514 and pass the act as
"With just a few lines of text, Representative Bliley has crushed the hopes
of chimpanzees and chimpanzee friends -- that there is a light at the end
of the dark tunnel of lives of experimentation," says Dr. Shirley McGreal
of the International Primate Protection League. "I understand that Rep.
Bliley is retiring from the Congress and I am sure he expects to collect
his benefits for a life of hard work. Chimpanzees whose lives have been
sacrificed for the well-being of the human race deserve no less."