Washington Lobby Groups Fight Attempt to Limit Chimpanzee Research
Posted 31 January 2012 | By
Washington-based lobbyists are launching a counteroffensive against a piece of proposed legislation known as the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act that would ban researchers that use chimpanzees in their research from receiving federal funds, according to The Hill.
The proposed legislation has prompted research facilities to hire lobbyists, including one Texas facility that paid roughly $120,000 to a lobbyist to represent their viewpoints.
"Because of the public debate over chimpanzees in biomedical research, hiring someone in Washington to represent our interests made sense," Joe Carey of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute told The Hill.
The efforts to ban the use of chimpanzees in medical research piggybacks off of a report issued in December 2011 by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that claimed that most of the research conducted on the animals was "unnecessary."
In response to efforts to ban the practice in its entirety - which NIH did not support - some scientists are fighting back, noting that the exact needs of future research can't be predicted. Other researchers are taking stands for different reasons, including the prospect that all species of animals might be banned from research use if a legislative precedent is established.
"This may be the first step toward restricting research using other non-human primates," said Carrie Wolinetz of the Association of American Universities to The Hill.
The bill currently has 154 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 13 co-sponsors in the Senate.