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Release the Rockville 15 to a chimpanzee sanctuary
  • Petitioned Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.,

This petition was delivered to:

Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.,

Release the Rockville 15 to a chimpanzee sanctuary

    1. Elizabeth Kucinich
    2. Petition by

      Elizabeth Kucinich

      Washington, DC

We request that you use the considerable influence of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to ensure that the fifteen young chimpanzees used at BIOQUAL, Inc., in Rockville, Md., are released to a sanctuary.

We request the 11 chimpanzees who were leased by NIH and housed a BIOQUAL until recently to be transferred from New Iberia Research Center, Louisiana, to Sanctuary and the four remaining chimpanzees (Loretta, Ricky, Tiffany and Torian), being housed at BIOQUAL, Inc, be transferred directly to sanctuary.

These chimpanzees, collectively known as the Rockville 15, range in age from just 2 to 7 years old and were likely born in violation of NIH's own 1995 breeding moratorium.

Considering that they are unnecessary for human health research, as detailed in the recent Institute of Medicine report, they should be released to sanctuary where it is cheaper for you to house them, and a much better environment for these chimpanzees to live. Why condemn these intelligent beings to lives of misery when scientists have clearly stated the benefits of alternative research models?

They must not live out their days in a laboratory that has repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act.

New Iberia is currently under investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture for an incident in which the decomposing bodies of three monkeys were found trapped in a metal chute. In addition, between 2000 and 2008, 14 infant chimpanzees died as a result of traumatic injury at New Iberia.

We ask you to please ensure that the Rockville 15 are retired to a sanctuary immediately.

Thank you.

Recent signatures


    1. CNN covers our campaign

      Elizabeth Kucinich
      Petition Organizer

      CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed me last week about our campaign to end invasive research on great apes, and the death of 7 year old Chaos, who died in transit from BIOQUAL in MD, to New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. Please continue to sign and share this petition with your friends so that we can save the Rockville 15 and all great apes from research.

      Watch the interview here:


    2. Chimpanzee researchers start to speak up to end invasive chimp research

      Elizabeth Kucinich
      Petition Organizer

      We are starting to engage the wider research community in our campaign. A strong advocate for the ending of invasive chimpanzee research is Professor Hare, a chimpanzee researcher from Duke University. In his recent OpEd to The Hill newspaper, Professor Hare states:

      "In my area of research a collection of just five zoos and African sanctuaries recently published more scientific papers in higher impact journals than all five active U.S. chimpanzee laboratories. These non-lab researchers contributed data relevant to fighting HIV, Malaria, Parkinson’s, Autism, Alzheimer’s, and a myriad of other human ailments. They did this while studying chimpanzees that live life freely in extremely enriched environments."

    3. Reached 100,000 signatures
    4. US Senate made a move to end invasive research on chimpanzees this week!

      Elizabeth Kucinich
      Petition Organizer

      This week the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, a bill that ends invasive research on great apes, was overwhelmingly supported by the committee and voted to move to the next level which is a full senate vote. This is wonderful news for chimpanzees and also tax payers and human health advocates who will see a $25 million savings when the bill passes.

      We are still a way to go before this becomes law, but with your help and continued action, we can get there quickly.

      Please continue to share this petition with your friends and social networks. There's a chance that we can save these Rockville 15 chimpanzees, and all the others presently held in laboratories.

      Click the link to read the article published in 'Nature' earlier this week.

      Thank you for all your support!

    5. Reached 50,000 signatures
    6. Nature, the international weekly journal of science covers our campaign

      Elizabeth Kucinich
      Petition Organizer

      Great news! "Nature" the international weekly journal of science covers our campaign. In the article they state, "Researchers at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Food and Drug Administration have used the juvenile chimpanzees to study hepatitis C and malaria, as well as other causes of human infection, such as respiratory syncytial virus and norovirus. But now the NIH’s demand for ready access to chimpanzees is on the wane as the scientists who relied on them retire and social and political pressures against their use grow."

      Read more at the link.

    7. Reached 20,000 signatures
    8. Free the Rockville 15

      Elizabeth Kucinich
      Petition Organizer

      Here's a link to my Huffington Post Independence Day blog which is dedicated to the Rockville 15. In it I describe what's going on and my personal experience meeting these chimpanzees.

    9. Reached 3,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Kathy Passafiume ORLAND PARK, IL
      • 3 months ago

      They have suffered enough.

    • Lindsey Randall TULSA, OK
      • 3 months ago

      I LOVE ANIMALS!!!!!!

    • Jon Snyder CHEEKTOWAGA, NY
      • 3 months ago

      IF this is how we treat our closest relatives with torture and pain we have no right to call ourselves a higher species

    • Don harris WILLS POINT, TX
      • 3 months ago

      ALL animal abuse sickens me.

    • Tena Smallwood FALLING WATERS, WV
      • 3 months ago

      They shouldn't have t o live in a lab, or in cages.


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