Conservation or exploitation? You decide.
PASA joined with countless other nonprofit organizations and concerned citizens to urge U.S. Fish and Wildlife not to approve the export and allow the chimpanzees to live in an accredited, nonprofit primate sanctuary in the U.S. Despite this pressure, USFWS approved the transfer.
True Test of USFWS Protection
In June 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act as well as CITES regulations, ended a longstanding distinction between chimpanzees in the wild and chimps in captivity. The Endangered Species Act is very strong legislation that forbids transferring or harming endangered species for any purpose except to advance the conservation of the species in the wild. USFWS had considered wild chimps to be “endangered” and therefore receive protection under the Endangered Species Act, but chimps in captivity were not. This left the chimps used for research and entertainment in the U.S. vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. However, after years of pressure from animal protection organizations, USFWS has finally granted protection to all chimps.
The first true test of this arose when Yerkes, a center that experiments on primates for biomedical research, announced its intention to send eight chimpanzees who were retired from research to Wingham Wildlife Park, a zoo in England that is not accredited by any of the major accreditation organizations and has not cared for chimps before. PASA and a multitude of other wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations are strongly opposed to this for several reasons. In particular, if this transfer is allowed, it would the Endangered Species Act, as it does not enhance the conservation of the species.
This transfer can set a very dangerous precedent of transporting endangered animals to other countries under the guise of conservation.
Furthermore, this transfer can set a very dangerous precedent of transporting endangered animals to other countries under the guise of conservation when the underlying motive is financial profit. It would allow Yerkes to avoid financial responsibility for the lifetime care of the chimps they used for biomedical research. The zoo in England is heavily promoting the acquisition of these chimpanzees in order to increase its ticket sales.
More information is on the New York Times website.
PASA joined with countless other nonprofit organizations and concerned citizens to urge U.S. Fish and Wildlife not to approve the export and allow the chimpanzees to live in an accredited, nonprofit primate sanctuary in the U.S. Despite this pressure, USFWS approved the transfer. Now NEAVS, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, is taking the issue to court to try to prevent Fish and Wildlife from issuing a permit for the transfer.
Please read more here. This article includes quotes from Richard Wrangham, a PASA Board member.
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