"In a democracy, the highest office is the office of citizen." - Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter
On June 29th Animal Protection of New Mexico learned of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) plan to move the 202 chimpanzees at Alamogordo Primate Facility to Southwest National Primate Research Center (Southwest) in Texas. According to Southwest, the chimps will be used in hepatitis and cancer research, although the United States is the last developed nation still testing on chimpanzees and there is no proof that these expensive avenues of research will yield any gains for human health.
Since news about this terrible plan has spread, thousands of concerned citizens have contacted officials, Governor Bill Richardson wrote a powerful letter to NIH, and many advocacy organizations are working to save the Alamogordo Primate Facility chimpanzees. This week the Great Ape Protection Act, which would ban invasive research on chimpanzees, made further progress in the U.S. Congress.
Many compassionate individuals have contacted us asking, “What else can I do?” We must all continue to speak up for the Alamogordo Primate Facility chimpanzees. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Survey the facts: Why are there so many captive chimpanzees in New Mexico, why is NIH responsible, and how can Congress intervene?
Read through APNM’s “Frequently Asked Questions” about Alamogordo Primate Facility for a quick overview, and share this information with compassionate friends and neighbors.
2. Contact your US Senators and Representative and ask for a MORATORIUM ON CHIMPANZEES LEAVING NEW MEXICO
Ask your elected officials for a moratorium on APF chimps leaving their New Mexico home to make sure the NIH does not make any more sudden moves of chimps while Congress is contemplating action.
For individuals outside of New Mexico, please use www.contactingthecongress.org to reach your elected officials. Everyone should contact both of their Senators and the one Representative for their district. Let the staff answering the phone know you are a registered voter and what your zip code is.
For New Mexicans, please contact:
Senator Bingaman (202) 224-5521 Senator Udall (202) 224-6621
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (Northern NM) (202) 225-6190 Rep. Martin Heinrich (Central NM) (202) 225-6316 Rep. Harry Teague (Southern NM) (202) 225-2365
Please make these polite, quick points when speaking to staff in Congressional offices:
Thank them for their oversight on spending of our limited federal tax dollars.
Ask for a MORATORIUM ON CHIMPANZEES LEAVING ALAMOGORDO PRIMATE FACILITY until all of our Senators and Representatives understand the total financial and ethical costs of continuing research with these animals.
Remind them that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson supports permanent retirement for the chimpanzees and that the Albuquerque Journal agrees there’s no benefit to human health in chimp research.
3. Contact US Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Use this easy link to leave a personalized message for Secretary Sebelius. If you have already signed, please forward the link to friends. You may also call and leave a message for Secretary Sebelius requesting permanent retirement to sanctuary for the APF chimpanzees: 202-205-5445. action.humanesociety.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=15210.0
4. Organize a hard-copy New Mexico petition for the chimpanzees
For New Mexicans interested in gathering signatures for hard-copy petitions and mailing them to our elected officials, please email us with your name, address and the number of petitions you’d like (maximum of 50 signatures per page) and we will mail you hard copies and instructions: www.apnm.org/contact/chimps/contactus.php
Hard-copy petitions are successful with a little work from a talented community organizer like YOU in locations where people gather together including: neighborhood coffee shop, farmer’s market, yoga studio, college campus, animal shelter, community center, small business, big office…basically wherever you spend time and have friends.
These petitions can give our Congressional offices a physical reminder of the many voices supporting the Alamogordo Primate Facility chimps.
5. Support the Great Ape Protection Act
The Great Ape Protection Act (GAPA) is a federal bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, August 3rd, with 148 cosponsors already in the U.S. House.
If passed, GAPA would: End invasive research on chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories; release federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuaries; and end federal funding for the breeding of federally owned chimpanzees.
While support builds for GAPA across party lines, the NIH is spending money to renovate lab facilities in Texas for more research with the APF chimpanzees. NIH’s plan for the APF chimpanzees is extremely shortsighted. Please talk to your elected officials about saving the APF chimpanzees and cosponsoring GAPA: www.releasechimps.org/mission/change-laws/the-great-ape-protection-act/