As of 2008, Belgium, Balearic Islands, Austria, Japan, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have banned or limited biomedical research on chimpanzees. The United States is the only remaining large scale user of chimpanzees in biomedical research in the world.
Currently chimpanzees are the only great ape (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans) used for biomedical research in the United States.
End chimpanzee research: an overview
Project R&R's mission is to end the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and testing and to help provide them release and restitution in sanctuary. While we focus on the U.S., our goal is for a worldwide end to harmful, intrusive, and lethal research on all great apes.
Chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives, share approximately 96-98 percent of our DNA. In their intelligence, social and family life, and complex emotions, we see ourselves.
But despite this, chimpanzees in the United States endure a life filled with suffering, fear, and boredom locked in laboratories—in many cases, for decades.
Together, we can educate Americans, pass legislation, and secure the release of all chimpanzees remaining in labs into sanctuary.
Some 1,000 chimpanzees remain confined in U.S. laboratories. Some were wild-caught as babies in Africa; others were born in a lab or sent from zoos, circuses, and animal trainers. Some were taught to communicate using sign language or raised in family settings—only to be sent into biomedical experimentation when funding ran out, or they became too strong to manage.
For all of them, life in a lab means confinement, fear, suffering, and endless boredom.
Betrayed by their next of kin—humans—chimpanzees have been left in an ethical blind spot.
Unique individuals, each chimpanzee has a special face, personality, and story. Those who have survived laboratories and have been placed in sanctuary, give us a glimpse into their individuality and the suffering we have erroneously sanctioned.
Chimpanzee research has been shown time and again to be unnecessary and even dangerous to human medical advances. The scientific community is in debate about the efficacy of chimpanzee research to study human health and disease.
Although chimpanzees have 96-98 percent of the same DNA as humans, we now know that they—like all other species who are used to study human health and disease—differ significantly from humans. These differences can result in crucial disparities in the way disease occurs or progresses in chimpanzees and humans, and in how we respond to drugs and treatments.
NEAVS, the founder and organizer of Project R&R, has long advocated that the scientific code of ethics for research be expanded to include nonhuman species. Achieving that goal will take years. But one species—the chimpanzee, increasingly acknowledged as so “like us”—is in a unique position to lead the way now with your help.
"Chimpanzees suffer no less, I promise you."
-Jen Feuerstein, former Yerkes Primate Research Center caregiver"The incident made a deep impression on me. I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures."
-Dr. Christiaan Barnard, world’s first human-to-human heart transplant surgeon after killing a chimpanzee to use as a heart donor
As ambassadors between humans and other animals, chimpanzees can open the door to greater compassion for all nonhuman species whose lives and wills are destroyed in the name of science.