Chimpanzees deserve better after research

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By Adele E. Zimmerman

Chimpanzees walk on two feet. They have hands, use tools and language and have a complex society. They display intelligence and emotion.

Yet the United States government treats them as property, with no more rights than ashtrays or toilet seats.

About 240 chimps at the Alamagordo Primate Facility in New Mexico were rescued from an abusive owner - cited for improper care and even negligent deaths - in 2000.

They had been used for decades for research, much of which could be considered torture.

Now the National Center for Research Resources, their new owner, intends to transfer them to a facility in Texas, also cited several times for negligence.

They will be housed in an environment designed for macaques (1/4 the size of chimps) and used for invasive biomedical research.

Few, if any, advances in science have resulted from research using chimpanzees.

The only two countries in the world that still use them are the United States and west-African Gabon.

I urge you to contact your congressional representatives, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and NCRR Director Barbara Alving M.D. (alvingb@mail.nih.gov).

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