The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recently considered legislation that included the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011 (GAPCSA). GAPCSA would eliminate "invasive research" involving chimpanzees. The Committee passed an amendment providing for an exemption procedure in the event there is a new or emerging threat to human health. The amended legislation gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to create a "Great Ape Task Force" that would review proposed research. However, the practical effect of the amendment is to still prohibit research with chimpanzees. A FASEB press release expresses disappointment with passage of the bill. The amended bill must now be considered by the full Senate. A companion version of the bill is still pending in the House.
Prior to the Committee action, FASEB sent a letter (July 24) to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee opposing the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act and urging Committee members to vote against it during the bill’s mark-up. The FASEB letter notes that passage of the bill would ignore the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, halt valuable ongoing disease research, compromise the treatment of dangerous infectious diseases, and cost the government more money to provide care in sanctuaries than in research settings. An alert for ASPET members to respond to is available at http://capwiz.com/faseb/issues/alert/?alertid=61588516. ASPET members are urged to contact their Senators to oppose the amended bill.