U.S. Legislation and Policies

Billy Jo Chimpanzee
Billy Jo, after decades in a lab, enjoyed eight years in sanctuary at Fauna and was loved and respected by all who knew him. Billy died February 14, 2006 at the age of only 37. He and others are our inspiration to change laws NOW. (Photo: © Fauna Foundation)

Project R&R’s goal is to end the use of chimpanzees in U.S. research.

We work to educate the public; change existing laws, policies, and practices; and enact new laws for improved protection of chimpanzees while they remain in U.S. labs. Currently, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the only existing federal law that requires minimum standards of care and treatment for certain animals in U.S. labs.

Timeline of protections for U.S. chimpanzees

June 2015: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an end to split-listing for captive and free-living chimpanzees, giving both an endangered status. Previously, captive chimpanzees were recognized as only threatened, while their wild counterparts were listed as endangered.

November 2013: The Chimp Act Amendments of 2013 removed a $30 million spending cap originally appropriated in the 2000 CHIMP Act. (Though this amendment appeared to only apply to chimpanzees in sanctuaries, the language of the amendment allows for the additional funds to apply to any and all chimpanzees. Therefore, these funds would apply to chimpanzees currently housed in labs and allow them to remain.)

June 26, 2013: The NIH issues a heavily anticipated decision to retire nearly 90% of its chimpanzees.

December 2011: The Institute of Medicine released a report that was accepted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and concluded that "…most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary."

April 2011: GAPA is reintroduced again in both the U.S. House and Senate and renamed the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA, H.R.1513/S.810).

March 5, 2009: H.R. 1326, the Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA), was reintroduced in the House by Representatives Towns, Reichert, Langevin, and Bartlett. The bill would end the use of chimpanzees and other great apes in invasive research.

April 17, 2008: H.R. 5852, the Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA), a bill that would end the use of chimpanzees and other great apes in invasive research was introduced in the House by Representatives Towns, Reichert, Langevin, and Bartlett.

December 2007: The Chimp Haven is Home Act was signed into law amending the CHIMP Act to now provide permanent retirement to chimpanzees who are retired into the federal sanctuary system.

May 2007: The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health ended federal funding for breeding federally owned chimpanzees for research.

April 2006: Project R&R, a campaign of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, formally launched in Atlanta, Georgia, home to the first dedicated chimpanzee laboratory. (In 2007, The HSUS formally launched its Chimps Deserve Better Campaign, also dedicated to ending chimpanzee research.)

December 2000: The CHIMP Act was signed into law and created a federally funded national sanctuary system for chimpanzees retired from research and prohibited killing them as a matter of convenience to laboratories.


  • The United States is the last remaining large-scale user of chimpanzees for research.
  • More than 700 chimpanzees remain confined in research laboratories in the U.S.— over half are federally owned or supported. Some of these chimpanzees have been confined in labs for more than 40 years.
  • The government spends tens of millions of dollars on care of chimpanzees in labs. According to the Alliance of North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (formerly Alliance of North American Chimpanzee Sanctuaries): “Based on experience at the two larger Alliance member sanctuaries … annual costs per chimpanzee of $13,140-$16,790 for direct care and administrative costs are achieved. An average daily cost per chimpanzee of $41 is anticipated with expansion of sanctuaries to accept additional chimpanzees retired by the government … Comparing an average cost of $41 per day in a sanctuary with the comparable average laboratory per diem of $60 would result in savings of approximately $90 million over the lifespan of the chimpanzees for the over 500 government owned chimpanzees."

Worldwide condemnation

There is a growing awareness around the world that experimenting on chimpanzees is wrong. Many countries, such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, and the European Union, have all banned or severely limited experiments on chimpanzees. Even in countries where chimpanzee research is not practiced, the act of legislating outright bans shows solidarity for ending chimpanzee research worldwide. Project R&R lends its support to all such worldwide efforts.


  1. Alliance of North American Chimpanzee Sanctuaries. Response to NCRR’s Request for Information from Facilities with Long Standing Experience in Maintaining Chimpanzees NOT-RR-10-007. April 14, 2010

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