As you know from previous messages, GAP supported the
original version of H.R. 3514, known as the CHIMP bill. This proposed
U.S. federal legislation would establish a government-funded sanctuary
for those chimpanzees which the biomedical establishment designates as
GAP's support was based on the fact that the proposed
legislation stated unequivocally that no chimpanzee who entered this
sanctuary could ever again be subjected to biomedical experimentation.
On October 24, the bill was amended to change this
pivotal feature, allowing chimps in the sanctuary to be brought back
into experimentation if certain conditions exist. The amended bill then
passed the House of Representatives. The Senate has not yet been
presented with an amended version of this legislation.
GAP does not support the amended version of the CHIMP
bill. The choice here is not an easy one, and people of unassailable
principles have come down on both sides. Some major supporters of GAP
choose to support the amended bill (Jane Goodall, Marc Bekoff, Steve
Wise), arguing that the sanctuary should be created and then we should
fight with all our might if someone attempts to remove a "retired"
chimpanzee. Other original signatories of the Declaration on Great Apes
and authors of articles in the book that launched The Great Ape Project,
such as Roger Fouts and Gary Francione, oppose the amended version of
the bill, arguing that the amended version is too serious a compromise
and the language of the amended version which attempts to limit when a
chimpanzee can be put back into experimentation will never be effective.
GAP's decision not to support the amended version of the
bill is based on our commitment to achieve three basic rights or
protections for chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos, and gorillas:
protection of their right to life, protection of their liberty, and
protection of them from torture.
Admittedly, opposition to the bill has risks, for
without the nauseating amendment the entire sanctuary proposal would
almost certainly fail. This is a tragic consequence. But we cannot in
good conscience support any legislation that allows the possibility of
We will continue to work for changes in law and cultural
values that will allow all great apes to live in a world where humans
protect their lives, do not hold them as captives, and do not use them
as experimental tools.
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