PCRM is working to stop the transfer of nearly 200 chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico to a laboratory in Texas where they would be used in invasive experiments.
The chimpanzees have not been used in invasive research since 2001. Some were previously used in testing at a privately run facility that was responsible for 35 chimpanzee deaths. Now, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to move the chimpanzees to the Southwest National Primate Research Facility in San Antonio, a laboratory notorious for animal welfare violations. Because of their health conditions and advanced age, some may not even survive the move.
There is tremendous local support for keeping the chimpanzees in Alamogordo. PCRM is reaching out to concerned New Mexico officials, providing them with resources about NIH’s plan and the ethical and scientific problems with chimpanzee experimentation. In July, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson wrote a letter to NIH opposing the move. He later flew to the D.C. area to meet with agency officials, and he continues to support permanently retiring these chimpanzees.
Unfortunately, the federal government has ignored appeals from Richardson, physicians, primatologists, and others who oppose this plan. NIH has already moved 14 of the chimpanzees to the Texas facility and plans to move the other chimpanzees soon.
True Blood’s Kristin Bauer Speaks Up for Chimpanzees
Kristin Bauer, who plays a vampire on the TV series True Blood, has joined New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and many others who are speaking out on behalf of the Alamogordo chimpanzees.
“I’ve always been fascinated by chimpanzees. We now know that these amazing animals use tools, grieve for their dead, and are capable of complex communication with humans,” wrote Bauer in her letter to NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “When chimpanzees are used in invasive experiments, they are kept in small metal cages, deprived of normal social interaction, and often subjected to harmful procedures.”