CURRENT NEWS AND ALERTS

Congress Fails to Act on Amended Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act

January, 2013

The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPSCA), S 810 and HR 1513, which received support from 18 Senators and 177 Representatives, showed great promise in 2012. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife held hearings on the bill in April 2012 and recommended the bill with an amendment that would allow great apes to be returned to research if, “based on the best available scientific evidence, that a new, emerging, or reemerging disease or disorder presents a challenge to treatment, prevention, or control that defies non-great ape models and technologies and, as a result, the use of great apes for research may be required.”  This amendment also set up a task force that would have to approve any future use of great apes, along with an opportunity for public comment. 

Sadly, the prospects for passing a ban on invasive research for great apes went downhill from there. This bill was recommended by the Subcommittee in April, and then reported with approval from the full Committee in November. It was placed on the legislative calendar, but negotiations behind the scenes changed the prospective bill entirely, though in the end it was not called for a vote before the end of the 2011-2012 session.

Instead of banning research on great apes as intended, the proposed language would have encouraged the retirement of great apes, which is not what supporters of the bill hoped to accomplish. Specifically, the proposed revision to the bill would have:
  • Allowed new and continued research on great apes subject to approval of the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
  • Allowed future breeding of great apes for use in invasive research if deemed necessary to support new research;
  • Allowed great apes to be “retired” on site in a laboratory if no suitable sanctuary was available. 
On the positive side, the provisions would have applied to privately-owned great apes in addition to those owned or funded by the U.S. government.

The session did end without any action on this bill, so for 2013-2014 efforts to retire great apes from research is starting from scratch. It is hoped that it will be reintroduced with its original purpose intact, to end all invasive research on great apes and require that they be retired to a sanctuary as required by the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act. 

We at NAVS, along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and legislators in the House and Senate, eagerly await the report of the NIH Working Group on Chimpanzees which will be coming out later in January. This report will outline the findings and make recommendations regarding chimpanzees currently owned by NIH. We hope for the best in removing large numbers of chimpanzees from the laboratory, though legislation is still essential to complete this mission. 

We know we can count on your letters, calls and support when this legislation is reintroduced in the near future. 
 
 
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© 2013 National Anti-Vivisection Society is a
501(c)3 non-profit organization
53 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 1552
Chicago, IL 60604
(800) 888-NAVS or (312) 427-6065
Fax: (312) 427-6524
navs@navs.org
© 2013 National Anti-Vivisection Society is a
501(c)3 non-profit organization