Urging the Extension of Endangered Status to Captive Chimpanzees
Public Comments Submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted comments urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend endangered status to captive chimpanzees, along with all of the meaningful protections such a listing entails.
In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted comments urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to extend endangered status to captive chimpanzees, along with all of the meaningful legal protections such a listing entails. These include protections against being harmed, harassed, or killed.
Wild and captive chimpanzees were treated differently under Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations. Wild chimpanzees were granted vital protections under the ESA, while captive chimpanzees had few protections. This “split listing” distinction dated back to a regulation issued by FWS in 1976, three years after the Act became law.
Our advocacy, along with that of other animal protection groups, produced important results: In June 2015, FWS announced that captive chimpanzees — including those used in laboratory research — would be categorized as endangered species, with all the attendant legal protections. This means that researchers wanting to experiment on chimpanzees would need special permits giving them dispensation from the ESA’s protections.
Five months after FWS’s announcement, in November 2015 the National Institute of Health declared the agency would no longer support biomedical research on chimpanzees, and that chimpanzees held in federal laboratories would be retired. This decision was attributed, in part, to FWS designating captive chimpanzees as endangered species.
Dr. Juan A. Rivero National Zoological Park has been illegally operating without federal license for more than a year.April 4, 2019 Press Release
In 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund became the first to successfully use the Endangered Species Act on behalf of captive animals held at Cricket Hollow Zoo in Iowa.February 25, 2019 Webinar
Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges violations of the Endangered Species Act and state laws.January 15, 2019 Press Release
Filed Comments in Opposition to Captive Chimpanzee testing
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Kirstjen M. Nielsen
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