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August 5, 2011

On Eve of ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Premiere, Jane Goodall and HSI UK Urge British Authorities to Hold Firm on Great Ape Research Ban

Humane Society International/UK

    We must stop exploiting them. The HSUS

LONDON—World-renowned primatologist and bioethicist Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace [1], has joined Humane Society International/UK in urging the British government to stand firm and maintain its current support for not using great apes in research when the new European Union animal experiments directive [2] is transposed into national legislation. The call comes on the eve of the UK premiere of a new movie, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' [3], the central theme of which is humanity's use of primates for laboratory experiments.

The UK has not authorised the use of great apes (gorilla, chimpanzee, orangutan and bonobo) for experiments since 1997. However, new EU legislation agreed in 2010 contains a ‘safeguard clause’ that could potentially allow for apes to be used in exceptional circumstances. The United Kingdom has until 1 January 2013 to decide whether or not to include the safeguard clause when it transposes the EU directive into UK law[4].

HSI UK and the Jane Goodall Institute believe that the UK should continue to prevent the use of great apes in research under all circumstances, and that the British government should be working to replace the use of all primates as an urgent priority.

Said Goodall:
“Chimps are remarkably sentient animals whose capacity to suffer from the deprivation and trauma of laboratory life, cannot be in question. I have visited chimps in labs and seen firsthand their distress from constant confinement and invasive procedures. I fully support Humane Society International/UK in urging the British government to safeguard its ban and would like to see it take further action to achieve primate-free laboratories worldwide in the future.”

In the United Kingdom, around 4,500 experiments are conducted on non-human primates such as macaques and marmosets every year [5], including for toxicology. Over the last decade, animal experiments have continued to rise almost every year, with the UK now ranking as Europe's second largest user of animals for research and the highest user of primates. To tackle this, the government has pledged a national reduction strategy, which HSI UK hopes will prioritise the replacement of primate experiments.

Troy Seidle, director of research & toxicology for HSI UK, said:
“To treat our closest cousins as disposable research tools is morally unconscionable. We urge the government to take this opportunity to strengthen protection for great apes and make replacing experiments on all primate species a priority goal. We have the scientific ability and moral imperative to stop exploiting these highly intelligent creatures, we now need the political will to make it happen.”

Globally, the United States is the only developed country in the world to continue large-scale confinement of chimpanzees in laboratories. The U.S. has approximately 1,000 lab-held chimps; some are subjected to invasive procedures but the vast majority of them are being warehoused and languishing at a high cost to the U.S. government. Some individuals have been held captive in this way for more than 50 years.

A 2008 undercover investigation by HSI’s sister organisation, The Humane Society of the United States, captured on film the shocking reality of life for chimps in laboratories. Secret footage taken at the University of Louisiana shows the frightened screams of chimps being darted and their hours of dreary boredom confined in barren cages [6]. Through its Chimps Deserve Better campaign, the HSUS is working to end the use of chimps in U.S research and retire them to permanent sanctuaries.

The British government is currently holding a public consultation on the transposition of the EU animal experiments directive. Launched on June 13, it runs until Sept. 3 and can be accessed at homeoffice.gov.uk.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations—backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsiuk.org and hsieurope.org.

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See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store. The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty—On the Web at humanesociety.org/issues/chimpanzee_research/

ENDS

Notes:

1. To learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute and the work of Dr. Goodall, visit janegoodall.org.uk

2. Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which will replace the 25-year old Directive 86/609.

3. UK release August 12, see here for official trailer

4. Member States cannot introduce new measures more stringent than the new Directive, but can choose to retain existing measures that go beyond those of the new directive.

5. The UK conducted 4,688 procedures on 2,649 primates in 2010. Full statistics can be viewed here.

6. To view and download undercover footage of chimp research, please click here or visit humanesociety.org/press/video.

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