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Moreover, it is inexcusable in our current economic climate that the NIH would continue any chimpanzee experimentation, which comes at a great cost to American taxpayers. From 2000 to 2010, more than $200 million in federal research was wasted on experiments using chimpanzees. If Congress had not called on the IOM to conduct this review, the NIH likely would have continued funding cruel and wasteful chimpanzee experimentation.
Congress must take a stand and codify these guidelines into law by passing the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act. By phasing out invasive research on chimpanzees and retiring the more than 600 federally owned and supported chimpanzees to sanctuaries, this bill would save American taxpayers an estimated $300 million over 10 years — enough money to fund Pell Grants for more than 50,000 students, 5 million malaria vaccines or nearly 200,000 units of body armor for our troops.
Passing the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act would also free up NIH dollars, which could be spent on the development and use of modern, effective technologies.
And, perhaps most important, it would mean that these chimpanzees, who have suffered so much in the name of bad, misguided science would finally have the freedom they deserve.
Elizabeth Kucinich is the director of public affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.