The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) applauded today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announcement that could greatly expand protection of chimpanzees, including the thousands of chimpanzees currently held captive in the United States.
The United States has long recognized wild chimpanzees as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) but has not provided the same level of protection for chimpanzees held captive in this country. Because other U.S. animal welfare laws are weak or not well-enforced, this split listing under the ESA has enabled the exploitation of chimpanzees in the United States as pets and for entertainment, advertising and medical research—a situation that also has hampered efforts to promote protection of wild chimpanzees.
After reviewing the status of chimpanzees, the USFWS determined that all members of a species must be afforded the same protection and that the split listing of chimpanzees must therefore be eliminated. In addition, finding that the threats to chimpanzees have increased since its last status review, the USFWS proposed that all chimpanzees, whether captive or wild, be listed as endangered. If finalized, the rule would bring into play the strict permitting requirements of the ESA.
“I was so pleased to hear about the proposed rule. This is exceptional news for all chimpanzees and for all the petitioners, especially The Humane Society of the United States, who have worked so hard on this issue,” said Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.
“This decision gives me hope that we truly have begun to understand that our attitudes toward treatment of our closest living relatives must change. I congratulate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this very important decision.”
By law, the public has 60 days to comment on the rule. Thereafter, the USFWS must respond to any comments received and announce a final decision within a year of issuing the proposed rule.
The Jane Goodall Institute worked closely with a number of organizations, most notably The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which led the petition originally filed in 2010 with a supporting declaration from Dr. Goodall. The petitioners also included the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AZA), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the Fund for Animals (FFA), the Humane Society International (HIS), and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS).
Voice Your Opinion on the Future of
Captive Chimpanzees in the United States