Target: Deputy Director for Policy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Steve Guertin
Goal: Reclassify captive chimpanzees as an endangered species to protect them from cruel research experiments
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed a new rule that would give endangered species status and protection to all chimpanzees, wild and captive. Previously only wild chimps received protection under the Endangered Species Act. Please sign this petition in support of the proposed rule to protect captive chimpanzees as an endangered species.
Chimpanzees are the only species where captive animals are not given the same protection as their wild peers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently proposed a new rule that would give endangered species status and protection to all chimps, regardless of where they live. Captive chimps are currently classified as “threatened” and do not receive the same protection as their friends in the wild. That decision was made in the early 1990’s when lab chimps seemed indispensable due to the intense research into HIV and AIDS treatment. Activists at the time considered the half-way protection a compromise; fearing that a push for full protection would get the chimps nothing at all.
Currently, there are about 2,000 chimps living in captivity in the U.S., excluding zoos. That number is likely to reduce if the proposed law is passed. Under the new law, scientists would have to apply with the USFWS to use chimps for any project that may cause them harm. The application would be used to determine if the intended use would contribute to conservation of the species. The U.S. is the only developed country that still uses chimpanzees for invasive research and testing.
The proposed law is currently under public review. After that period, the USFWS has one year to respond to questions and concerns raised by the public before the law can be implemented. Please sign this petition and show your support for protecting chimpanzees regardless of if they are wild or living in captivity.
Dear Mr. Guertin,
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently proposed expanding the endangered species list to include captive chimpanzees. Up to this point, wild chimpanzees have been considered “endangered” and received protection, while their captive peers are only classified as “threatened.” Captive chimps have not been receiving the protection they deserve, thus contributing to a steady decline of chimpanzees in the U.S. I am writing to support the USFWS proposed law to expand the “endangered” label and associated protection efforts to include captive chimps.
Wild chimpanzees joined the list of endangered species in 1990. This was the first and last time to date that captive chimps were classified separately and only granted the status of “threatened.” Jane Goodall attributes that decision to the intense research into HIV and AIDS treatment at the time. She thinks the extensive research made lab chimps seem indispensable. Activists fighting for chimpanzee protection feared that insisting all chimps be granted endangered status would result in none of them getting protection. It was a compromise to divide the chimps by where they lived.
Currently there are about 2,000 chimps in captivity in the U.S., excluding zoos. If the proposed rule becomes law, that number is expected to drastically reduce. The use of chimps in biomedical research my become a thing of the past if captive chimps receive an “endangered” status. Under the newly proposed law, anyone wanting to use chimps for research must apply to the USFWS. It would then be up to them to determine if the intended use contributes to conservation of the species.
I applaud the USFWS for proposing expanded protection of captive chimpanzees and I support the passage of the rule into law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Klaus Post via Wikimedia Commons