Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do we need a National Chimpanzee Foundation to raise money for lifetime care of retired federal chimps?

This week, the National Institutes of Health received recommendations to retire most federally-owned chimpanzees from research. NIH will announce its decisions in late March. I fully agree with most of the recommendations. My concern continues to be over the lack of funding resources that can be directed to the federal sanctuary system, to move chimps out of labs and into sanctuaries. Getting more money during a time of federal budget cutting is terribly difficult -- but perhaps Congress will be more willing to provide some funding for construction and animal care needs if they see a serious, long-term, matching private effort. Therefore, tonight I submitted comments urging NIH to consider supporting the establishment of a foundation similar to the National Park Foundation or the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, but focusing on providing lifetime support for retired federal chimpanzees.

Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation allows private citizens to contribute money that goes to establishing and protecting our national parks. A similar National Chimpanzee Foundation would be a charitable nonprofit dedicated solely to providing direct support of chimpanzees owned by the federal government.

My congressional representatives supported the Great Ape Protection Act during the last session. Tonight I asked them to consider sponsoring legislation to establish a National Chimpanzee Foundation.

What do you think? There's a quick poll on the right side of this blog and it's easy to vote. Or leave a comment below.

Update, Sept. 27, 2014: See America's Chimp Problem. We still haven't addressed the question of how to pay for the lifetime sanctuary care of the retired chimps.


  1. Didn't locate the poll... but I think it's a great idea!

    1. Oops, sorry, I'm retiring the blog and so I took the poll down. As of this morning, votes were 88% in favor of a National Chimpanzee Foundation, and 12% said the federal government should pay for lifetime care of the chimps.