Dr. Goodall Urges U.S. Senate to End Invasive Medical Testing

On Tuesday, May 24, 2012, Dr. Jane Goodall submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife.  The subcommittee held a hearing on several bills, including S.810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011 which calls for ending invasive medical testing on all captive chimpanzees in the U.S.

In her testimony, Dr. Goodall urged support for ending invasive medical research on chimpanzees, as called for in the bill.

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &
UN Messenger of Peace

For a Hearing of the
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife

406 Dirksen Office Building

April 24, 2012

Dear Chairman Cardin and Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this statement in support of S.810, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011.  I commend Senator Cardin for including this measure in the hearing today.
 
I would like to begin by expressing my deep appreciation for the hard work of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee members who last year reviewed the status of chimpanzee biomedical and behavioral research as it stands today.  I was particularly impressed by their expert analysis of the exciting alternatives to the chimpanzee model that have been developed in the past five to 10 years and that are likely to be developed in the near future—many of which make no use of animals at all.  So many new research tools exist today that I could not have dreamed of when I began my research more than 50 years ago in what is now Gombe National Park in Tanzania.  Some of these new tools can even be employed with chimpanzees in the wild.  Today, researchers at Gombe perform a wide range of biomedical and behavioral studies, all without use of invasive methods of any kind.
 
I would also like to say that we have a great deal of respect for scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and elsewhere who are working so hard to find cures for a broad range of human diseases.  The majority of the researchers with whom I have met feel that it is wrong to use chimpanzees in invasive research due to the scientific limitations of using this animal model and because of clear ethical concerns.  I would not be surprised if there are many scientists working for the government or doing government-funded research who are quite relieved by the IOM report and the very wise decision of the NIH to adopt its recommendations.
 
It is critical that highly respected scientists at IOM and NIH have spoken on this issue.  Without their thoughtful analysis, many legislators—and their constituents, for that matter—would not feel comfortable discussing this issue.  They might have continued to hear only a one-sided point of view.  But, because of these scientists’ expert and candid assessment, we now know that most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary.  And the IOM and NIH scientists have come up with very stringent regulations that would have to be met before any researcher would be allowed to use a chimpanzee model. For one thing, they would have to prove that there was NO OTHER method which would enable them to get the information.

The scientists have spoken.  Now it is time for those who represent the general public to stand up and share their views.  I hope that you will move this piece of legislation forward.  Tweak it if you must, but do pass this bill.  In so doing, you will not just improve the lives of captive chimpanzees, but you will also advance the ethical standing of mankind.
 
Thank you for allowing me to contribute to this hearing. 

With kind wishes, I am respectfully

Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &
UN Messenger of Peace

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