Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) lauded the announcement by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that they plan to significantly limit the use of chimpanzees for the purposes of invasive biomedical research and will retire hundreds of chimpanzees to animal sanctuaries. Rep. Israel has long championed the cause of ending this research on our closest relatives and was recognized as a 2012 Humane Leader by the Humane Society of the United States for his work to protect animals.
Rep. Israel said, "NIH's announcement is great news for the hundreds of chimpanzees who will be moved to sanctuaries and enjoy a much better quality of life. I have long fought to protect the welfare of animals, and this announcement is certainly a step in the right direction. I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure that our animals are provided with the quality of life they deserve."
Rep. Israel has been a leader on issues of animal protection. Last Congress, he co-authored H.R. 1513, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would have phased out the use of chimpanzees in invasive research and retire the more than 500 federally-owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary, ensuring humane treatment and saving taxpayers nearly $30 million per year, according to estimates by the Humane Society. He also sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) calling for captive chimpanzees to be listed as endangered like their wild counterparts, and was notified earlier this month that FWS intends to classify both wild and captive chimpanzees as endangered.