The Great Ape Protection Act, H.R. 1326, was reintroduced in Congress this past March after ABC News aired an undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society, which documented the abuse of the primates at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana.
This piece of legislation would mean the end of invasive research and retirement for more than 1,000 chimpanzees that are currently in laboratories. Additionally, it would end transport and breeding programs for all great apes intended for research, including chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons, along with banning federally funded chimpanzee breeding programs.
Whether they’re captured from the wild, or bred in captivity, primates suffer from the effects of confinement without their psychological and behavioral needs being met, nevermind the invasive research part, which can include prolonged immobilization and invasive surgery.
Researchers have even found that chimpanzees previously used in experimental research commonly display behaviors overlapping with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other trauma-related disorders, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Despite what we know about the intelligence and complex emotional capabilities of these animals, the scientific community continues to use them in experiments.
However, thanks in part to public pressure and ethical concerns, the Act is gaining support in Congress with the number of co-sponsors up to 64 from 22, according to the American Antivivisection Society, but it needs more support in order to get passed.