Target: Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Deny laboratory’s request to send chimps overseas to an unaccredited zoo and demand that they place them in a qualified sanctuary instead.
After enduring years of traumatic biomedical research, eight chimpanzees may be on their way to further hardship at a disreputable zoo. The Yerkes National Primate Research Lab in Atlanta, Georgia is a major behavioral and neuroscience research center that receives federal funding for its work with primates. Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) chose to “uplist” captive chimpanzees to give them the same protections as their wild counterparts under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). This status limits the use of chimps in research to endeavors that will further the conservation of their species. Thus, invasive research operations like those taking place at Yerkes can no longer involve chimps. In accordance with these new rules, many labs are looking for new homes for their retired chimps. Yerkes has sought permission from the FWS to send eight of their retired chimps to an unaccredited zoo in England.
Yerkes has committed violations against the Animal Welfare Act including the wrongful deaths of two chimpanzees. The FWS should not trust the lab’s choice in facilities to house these chimps. Unaccredited zoos are institutions that have not met the requirements set forth by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for animal care, conservation, and education. Additionally, the zoo in question has no prior experience caring for chimps and is reported to allow visitors to have physical contact with many of its exotic animals. It is clear that sending the chimps to this facility will not aid in the conservation or recovery of their species as is required under the ESA.
Chimps are highly intelligent and emotionally-complex beings. These chimps deserve to live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort. It is wrong to force these animals to endure more stress after a life of research and isolation. Urge the FWS to deny Yerkes’ request to send their chimps overseas to an unaccredited zoo and demand, instead, that they send them to an accredited U.S. sanctuary.
Dear Director Ashe,
Under the new protections for captive chimpanzees enforced by the ESA, many chimps are being retired from research and a home must be found for them. After spending their lives enduring the isolation and trauma of life in a research lab, these chimps deserve to be treated with the utmost care. Unfortunately, Yerkes National Primate Research Lab in Atlanta, Georgia is currently seeking a permit from the FWS to export eight of their retired chimps to an unaccredited zoo in England. Transportation of the chimps overseas would be very stressful and the quality of their care could be questionable considering that the zoo has no prior experience with chimps.
Yerkes has not displayed a commitment to quality animal care in the past. They have been fined for various violations against the Animal Welfare Act, including water deprivation and causing the deaths of two chimps. The FWS should not trust Yerkes’ choice of facility for the chimps. I urge you to deny their request for a permit. Yerkes must take responsibility for the wellbeing of these chimps. Their chimps deserve to live out the rest of their years in a high quality facility. Please demand that the lab send their chimps to an accredited U.S. sanctuary that will ensure a peaceful existence for these animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Pixabay