Project Nim’s Bob Ingersoll Urges Congress to Pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
Bob Ingersoll, who appears in Project Nim, is an evolutionary biologist who worked at the Institute for Primate Studies when he met and befriended Nim. Ingersoll recently wrote to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., about Project Nim and the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-0505
RE: Request for EPW hearing on the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810)
Dear Senator Boxer:
I’m writing to you about a chimpanzee named Nim, whose strange, sad life as a research subject is at the center of the current documentary release “Project Nim.” I knew Nim well, and I hope you’ll keep his story in mind as Congress weighs the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810), which would phase out invasive experiments on chimpanzees. I support this bill because I’ve seen firsthand how much these extremely intelligent animals can suffer in the laboratory.
As you may know, “Project Nim” tells the story of an experiment aimed at proving that Nim could learn to communicate with sign language if raised and nurtured like a human child. The experiment was deemed a failure, and Nim was eventually sold to a laboratory specializing in invasive medical research. After growing up in a human family, Nim found himself in a small cage at the notorious research facility.
We managed to rescue Nim from that laboratory, but members of his family, and his social group and countless other chimpanzees have suffered terribly in such experiments. As you know, hundreds more continue to face this horrible prospect. Without even getting to the question of actual invasive research, warehousing of chimpanzees for experimentation is fundamentally inhumane. No laboratory environment can really support the physical and mental well-being of these highly social and emotionally complex beings. That’s why most countries no longer allow invasive experimentation on chimpanzees.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, you are in a position to hold a hearing on the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act. I hope you’ll take action on this important legislation. Nim and his group did not deserve to be used and abused as an experimental research subject, and neither do the hundreds of other chimpanzees currently in laboratory cages in the United States.
I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about these issues, and to speak to other members of Congress in hearings or any other format. Thank you for your kind attention.
President, Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary