President Bush Signs Burr’s Chimpanzee Protection Bill Into Law

Law Protects Retired Chimpanzees

U.S. Senator Richard Burr was pleased the President signed into law the chimpanzee protection bill, S.1916. The legislation amended the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection Act of 2000 (CHIMP Act), which established a haven to house chimpanzees retired from federally-sponsored research labs. The bill passed the Senate on December 13 and the House of Representatives on December 19. The President signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

"I am pleased the President has signed this bill," Burr said. "This law ensures retired chimps will not be called back for additional medical research. These chimps have helped further medical knowledge and deserve permanent retirement," Burr added.

The CHIMP Act of 2000 authorized $30 million for the construction and operation of the chimpanzee sanctuary system and established a public-private partnership in which other organizations help cover the operating costs. The law restricts the research permitted on retired chimpanzees housed in the sanctuary system to only noninvasive behavioral studies and medical studies based on information gathered during the course of normal veterinary care. The measure bars the National Institute of Health from taking retired primates from the Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana for the purposes of medical research. The original law allowed chimps to be removed from the sanctuary for further research if specific criteria are met and the new law removes those provisions.