Great Ape Protection Act

The Great Ape Protection Act has been up for consideration by Congress since 2008. Recent IOM recommendations, made in December 2011, are overtaking some parts of the bill, by recommending the retirement of federally-owned chimpanzees in research. (View the archived webcast of the committee meeting.)

To become law, the House and the Senate must approve identical bills before it goes to the President for signature or veto. The House has not yet (actually, never) scheduled a hearing on any Great Ape Protection bill. In 2012, the Senate bill made it to the floor of the Senate, but it died there after U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) put a "hold" on the bill and prevented a vote. (On the last day of the session, Senator Wyden reportedly offered to lift the hold in exchange for an amendment that would have essentially gutted much of the prohibition against conducting medical research on chimpanzees. It was a cynical "offer" in favor of the primate research centers and their corporate partners.) 


Every couple of months, a bevy of animal welfare organizations ask ape advocates to ask their legislators to co-sponsor the Great Ape Protection Act. The action alerts are often accompanied by pleas for donations, so the groups can continue the legislative fight. If there were any action alerts on the S. 810 shenanigans, I didn't see them.

I completely support this legislation, and all of my three legislators -- Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Barbara Mikulski -- have responded positively to my requests for support.

So that you can act knowingly, and donate wisely after receiving requests from your legislators, here is the legislative history and text of the bills in the 112th Congress. 

I will post the text of the legislation proposed in the 113th Congress when the bills are introduced. 

Great Ape Protection Act legislative history

110th Congress:
H.R. 5852 introduced in House on April 17, 2008. Assigned to House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, and House Foreign Affairs Committee. No hearing, no vote.

111th Congress:
H.R. 1326 introduced in House on March 3, 2009. Assigned to House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. No hearing, no vote.
S. 3694 introduced in Senate on August 3, 2010. Assigned to Committee on Environment and Public Works. No hearing, no vote.

112th Congress:
H.R. 1513 introduced in House on April 13, 2011. Assigned to House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. No hearing, no vote.

S. 810 introduced in Senate on April 13, 2011. Assigned to Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife. Subcommittee hearing held April 24, 2012. On July 25, 2012, S. 810 became the first version of the 5-year-old bill to pass out of a committee and on to the floor of the chamber. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the bill on a voice vote, after attaching an amendment sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Cardin explained that the amendment will allow, under strict conditions, the resumption of chimpanzee research if a health threat emerges that necessitates great ape experimentation. 

Both bills died with the adjournment of the 112th Congress on January 3, 2013.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that S. 810 would cost $56 million over the next five years ($26 million to care for the retired chimps, $30 million to construct additional sanctuary space). See the Committee Report for S. 810 for the actual estimates.

Text of H.R.1513/S.810

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 810
To prohibit the conducting of invasive research on great apes, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 13, 2011
Ms. CANTWELL (for herself, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. SANDERS, and Mr. LIEBERMAN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL
To prohibit the conducting of invasive research on great apes, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Findings- Congress finds that--

(1) chimpanzees are the only great apes currently used in invasive research in the United States;

(2)(A) as of the date of introduction of this Act, there are approximately 1,000 chimpanzees housed in laboratories in the United States;

(B) more than 1/2 of these chimpanzees are owned by the Federal Government; and

(C) the vast majority are financially supported by the Federal Government;

(3) great apes are highly intelligent and social animals;

(4) research laboratory environments involving invasive research cannot meet the complex physical, social, and psychological needs of great apes;

(5) invasive research performed on great apes, and the breeding, housing, maintenance, and transport of great apes for these purposes, are economic in nature and substantially affect interstate commerce;

(6) maintaining great apes in laboratories costs the Federal Government more than caring for great apes in suitable sanctuaries that are specifically designed to provide adequate lifetime care for great apes; and

(7) the National Research Council report entitled `Chimpanzees in Research--Strategies for their Ethical Care, Management, and Use' concluded that--

(A) there is a `moral responsibility' for the long-term care of chimpanzees used for scientific research;

(B) there should be a moratorium on further chimpanzee breeding;

(C) euthanasia should not be used as a means to control the size of the great ape population; and

(D) sanctuaries should be created to house chimpanzees in a manner consistent with high standards of lifetime care, social enrichment, and cognitive development.

(b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are to--

(1) phase out invasive research on great apes and the use of Federal funding of such research, both within and outside of the United States;

(2) prohibit the transport of great apes for purposes of invasive research;

(3) prohibit the breeding of great apes for purposes of invasive research; and

(4) require the provision of lifetime care of great apes who are owned by or under the control of the Federal Government in a suitable sanctuary through the permanent retirement of the apes.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) ASSIGNED TO AN ACTIVE PROTOCOL- The term `assigned to an active protocol' means that a great ape is supported by, or used pursuant to, public or private funding that requires invasive research.

(2) GREAT APE- The term `great ape' means any individual of the following species:

(A) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes).

(B) Bonobo (Pan paniscus).

(C) Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla or Gorilla beringei).

(D) Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus or Pongo abelii).

(E) Gibbon (Family Hylobatidae).

(3) INVASIVE RESEARCH-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term `invasive research' means any research that may cause death, injury, pain, distress, fear, or trauma to a great ape, including--

(i) the testing of any drug or intentional exposure to a substance that may be detrimental to the health or psychological well-being of a great ape;

(ii) research that involves penetrating or cutting the body or removing body parts, restraining, tranquilizing, or anesthetizing a great ape; or

(iii) isolation, social deprivation, or other experimental manipulations that may be detrimental to the health or psychological well-being of a great ape.

(B) EXCLUSIONS-

(i) IN GENERAL- The term `invasive research' does not include--

(I) close observation of natural or voluntary behavior of a great ape, if the research does not require an anesthetic or sedation event to collect data or record observations;

(II) the temporary separation of a great ape from the social group of the great ape, leaving and returning by the own volition of the great ape;

(III) post-mortem examination of a great ape that was not killed for the purpose of examination or research; and

(IV) the administration of a physical exam by a licensed veterinarian or physician conducted for the well-being of the individual great ape.

(ii) PHYSICAL EXAM- A physical exam conducted for the well-being of an individual great ape, as described in clause (i)(IV), may include the collection of biological samples to further the well-being of the individual great ape, the social group of the great ape, or the great ape species.

(4) PERMANENT RETIREMENT-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term `permanent retirement' means a situation in which--

(i) a great ape is placed in a suitable sanctuary that will provide for the lifetime care of the great ape; and

(ii) the great ape will no longer be used in invasive research.

(B) EXCLUSION- The term `permanent retirement' does not include euthanasia.

(5) PERSON- The term `person' means--

(A) an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association, or any other private or not-for-profit entity;

(B) any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, a State, municipality, or political subdivision of a State; or

(C) any other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(6) SUITABLE SANCTUARY- The term `suitable sanctuary' means--

(A) a sanctuary that meets or exceeds the standards of care for chimpanzees held in the federally supported sanctuary system, as defined in part 9 of title 42, Code of Federal Regulations; or

(B) a wildlife sanctuary that is a nonprofit organization that--

(i) operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, displaced, or retired animals are provided care for the lifetime of the animal;

(ii) does not conduct invasive research on animals;

(iii) does not conduct any commercial activity with animals, including, at a minimum, sale, trade, auction, lease, or loan of animals or animal parts, or use of animals in any manner in a for-profit business or operation;

(iv) does not use animals for entertainment purposes or in a traveling exhibit;

(v) does not breed any animals, whether intentionally or by failing to use adequate birth control methods; and

(vi) does not allow members of the public the opportunity to come into physical contact with the animals.

SEC. 4. PROHIBITIONS.

(a) Invasive Research Prohibited- No person shall conduct invasive research on a great ape.

(b) Housing for Invasive Research Prohibited- No person shall possess, maintain, or house a great ape for the purpose of conducting invasive research.

(c) Federal Funding for Invasive Research Prohibited- No Federal funds may be used to conduct invasive research on a great ape or to support an entity conducting or facilitating invasive research on a great ape either within or outside of the United States.

(d) Breeding for Invasive Research Prohibited- No person shall knowingly breed a great ape for the purpose of conducting or facilitating invasive research.

(e) Transport for Invasive Research Prohibited- No person shall transport, move, deliver, receive, lease, rent, donate, purchase, sell, or borrow a great ape in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of conducting or facilitating invasive research on a great ape.

(f) Transfer of Ownership Prohibited- No Federal agency may transfer ownership of a great ape to a non-Federal entity unless the entity is a suitable sanctuary.

(g) Exemption- Nothing in this Act limits or prevents individualized medical care performed on a great ape by a licensed veterinarian or physician for the well-being of the great ape, including surgical procedures or chemical treatments for birth control.

SEC. 5. RETIREMENT.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall effectuate the permanent retirement of all great apes owned by the Federal Government that are being maintained in any facility for the purpose of breeding for, holding for, or conducting invasive research.

SEC. 6. CIVIL PENALTIES.

(a) In General- In addition to any other penalties that may apply under law, any person who violates any provision of this Act shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation.

(b) Multiple Violations- Each day that a violation of this Act continues shall constitute a separate offense.

SEC. 7. GREAT APE SANCTUARY SYSTEM FUND.

(a) Establishment of Fund- There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the `Great Ape Sanctuary System Fund' (referred to in this section as the `Fund'), to be administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to be available without fiscal year limitation and not subject to appropriation, for construction, renovation, and operation of the sanctuary system established pursuant to section 481C of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 287a-3a).

(b) Transfers to Fund-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Fund shall consist of--

(A) such amounts as are appropriated to the Fund under paragraph (2); and

(B) such other amounts as are appropriated to the Fund under this Act.

(2) CIVIL PENALTIES- There are appropriated to the Fund, out of funds of the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, amounts equivalent to amounts collected as penalties and received in the Treasury under section 6.

(c) Prohibition- Amounts in the Fund may not be made available for any purpose other than a purpose described in subsection (a).

(d) Annual Reports-

(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the end of each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2012, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the operation of the Fund during the fiscal year.

(2) CONTENTS- Each report shall include, for the fiscal year covered by the report, the following:

(A) A statement of the amounts deposited into the Fund.

(B) A description of the expenditures made from the Fund for the fiscal year, including the purpose of the expenditures.

(C) Recommendations for additional authorities to fulfill the purpose of the Fund.

(D) A statement of the balance remaining in the Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

SEC. 8. EFFECTIVE DATES.

(a) Prohibition on Research- The prohibition under section (4)(a) shall take effect--

(1) on the date that is 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act for great apes assigned to an active protocol on the date of enactment of this Act; or

(2) on the date of enactment of this Act for great apes not assigned to an active protocol on that date.

(b) Prohibition on Housing and Funding- The prohibitions under subsections (b) and (c) of section 4 shall take effect on the date that is 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

(c) Other Requirements- Any provision of this Act for which a specific effective date is not provided shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 9. SEVERABILITY.

In the event that any provision of this Act shall, for any reason, be held to be invalid or unenforceable in any respect, such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect any other provision of this Act, and this Act shall be construed as if the invalid or unenforceable provision had never been included in this

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