Created by on 04/22/2011


On Wednesday, April 19th, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011 (GAPCSA) was introduced in both the House and Senate. The bill, which is similar to the Great Ape Protection Act of 2009 (GAPA), seeks to phase out invasive research on great apes, prohibit the breeding of great apes for the purpose of research, and require the provision of lifetime care in a suitable sanctuary to great apes that are owned by the federal government. S 810 was introduced by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and co-sponsored by Susan Collins (R-ME), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). There are currently 43 co-sponsors on the House version of the bill (HR 1513), all but five of whom co-sponsored the previous version.
Both the House and Senate versions of GAPCSA are identical. While the “cost savings” language was added to the title of both bills, the only reference to cost savings in the legislation is in the Findings and Purpose section, which states that “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.” The vast majority of the savings would, however, be attributable to cutting research grants involving chimpanzees—not for their care. Chimpanzees have been invaluable in the development of vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and they remain an important model for developing a vaccine against hepatitis C. Research on great apes also remains crucial for progress against malaria, human cytomegalovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and testing of important life saving monoclonal antibodies for treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as for developing cures for diseases that ravage wild great ape populations.
One other major difference between this bill and the previous GAPA is the addition of language to establish the “Great Ape Sanctuary System Fund.” This fund is to be established by the U.S. Treasury, administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, made available without fiscal year limitation, and not subject to appropriation for construction, renovation, and operation of the sanctuary system. FASEB opposed GAPA and is in the process of reviewing the language in the new bill. Additional information about GAPSCA will be included in future issues of this newsletter.