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Secretary Sebelius: Give Chimpanzees Sanctuary

I’d like to tell you about a chimpanzee named Billy Jo. Those who knew Billy remember how intelligent, gentle, and charming he was. Billy demanded and gave respect. He was an artist who loved to paint and give his artwork out as gifts. He loved watermelon, pizza, and sitting in a special place in the overhead skywalks where he could see and greet everyone who approached. Billy passed away at Fauna Sanctuary in 2006. He was surrounded by the love and care of his family and friends. 

Billy spent the last 9 years of his life in sanctuary, but before that he spent 14 years in a lab, endured 289 knockdowns (being shot with a dart filled with anesthetics), multiple HIV infections, liver biopsies, and more. His use in research had no benefit to humans and left him anxious, ill, and depressed. The day Billy was finally rescued from going into more research because the lab vet knew “he couldn’t take any more” changed his life. Billy was one of the lucky ones, but hundreds of other chimpanzees just like him are still languishing in labs and being denied their turn in sanctuary. You can take action to change that.

Currently, there are no criteria for determining when a chimpanzee must be retired. As a result, chimpanzees who are elderly, sick, or have not been used in research for decades continue to sit behind laboratory bars rather than being retired to sanctuary as required by the CHIMP Act when they are no longer needed or of use to research. Of the over 900 chimpanzees currently in labs, 80-90% are not in active research, yet labs hold on to them for financial gain and nothing else.

The New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) and six co-petitioners have submitted a Rulemaking Petition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposing scientifically-based standards to establish much-needed criteria for when a chimpanzee in a lab is “not needed" and trigger their retirement to sanctuary. If adopted, the criteria would deem hundreds eligible for immediate release to sanctuary..

Help make sure chimpanzees like Billy Jo are given the opportunity to spend the rest of their life in the comfort, care, and joy of sanctuary that they so deserve. Sign the petition below now to urge HHS Secretary Sebelius to immediately adopt these strict, effective, and enforceable retirement criteria.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
    Kathleen Sebelius


    New England Anti-Vivisection Society started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,148 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.