Finally, a step has been made in the right direction. On Friday, the United States Fish and Wildlife Services announced that all chimpanzees in the United States will be listed as endangered animals so as to protect them under the Endangered Species Act. Previously, chimpanzees in captivity were exempt from this protection, making it easier for them to be exploited for biomedical research. Under this new classification however, the exportation and importation of chimps as well as the use of them for biomedical research will now require permits.
It is about time that chimps kept in captivity are protected in the United States. Not only are numbers of chimpanzees in the wild dwindling terribly, but even the number in captivity has been getting smaller and smaller each year. According to Project ChimpCARE, the new protection of chimpanzees now protects the approximately 1,742 chimpanzees in the United States, of these, 730 are used for biomedical research in science labs while the other 1,012 are located in sanctuaries, zoos, with breeders, and held in facilities that train them for use in the entertainment industry.
Although many of the chimps kept in captivity were used for breeding, many sa that the breeding of chimps in captivity led to them being used as a commodity that were traded and sold for research and entertainment around the world.
Many animal rights activists are now happy that this change will lead to further animal rights. As Jane Goodall of the Jane Goodall Institute in Arlington, Virginia stated, “This change shows that many people are finally beginning to understand that it is not appropriate to subject our closest relatives to disrespectful, stressful or harmful procedures, whether as pets, in advertising or other forms of entertainment, or medical research.” A relief to chimpanzee lovers everywhere. The new regulations will take effect on September 14th, 2015.