Thursday/October 26, 2000
Chimp Retirement Bill 'A Fraud,' Charges Research Watchdog Group; Says NIH Playing Chimp 'Shell Game'
Contact: Michael Budkie, AHT 513-575-5517
CINCINNATI - The House version of the so-called "Chimp Retirement Bill" (HR3514) is a fraud that will still allow non-human primates to be experimented upon, according to a national animal research watchdog organization.
The measure, approved this week and now awaiting Senate action, was originally designed to provide "retirement" for primates no longer to be used by U.S. research laboratories, according to Michael A. Budkie, AHT, executive director of SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation Now).
But, Mr. Budkie has charged that the bill has been amended so that "behavioral" research - including cruel mother deprivation experiments - can still be conducted, and that at least one of the "havens" for the chimps is run by current animal researchers.
"The House bill has now been so corrupted that the "sanctuaries" which it proposes to set up will not be safe havens for chimps; they will merely be holding pens for the nearest lab that has a whim to experiment on chimps," said Mr. Budkie.
He notes that HR3514 grants the Secretary of Health & Human Services authority to remove chimps from the sanctuaries and place them back into laboratories.
"Since the current HHS Secretary, Donna Shalala, at one point personally signed laboratory report forms for the University of Wisconsin (one of the largest primate labs in the country), there is no doubt that the chimps would be available for experimentation at a moments notice," Mr. Budkie said.
Accompanying the passage of this bill is the rumored re-establishment of the NIH funded chimp breeding program, which pours over $3.2 million into breeding more chimps at two research facilities in Texas & Louisiana.
"If there are surplus chimps why are we breeding more of them? The Chimp Retirement Act merely relieves the NIH of the expense of housing chimps that it has victimized for decades, and allows labs to replace older, virus exposed chimps with younger ones," added Budkie. "The legislators who have so altered this legislation have allowed the NIH to play a shell game with 1600 captive chimps, at taxpayer expense."
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