To the Editor:
As a physician and former animal researcher who testified before the Institute of Medicine committee that wrote the report on chimpanzee experimentation, I want to emphasize that the report underscores the need to pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act—and that this bill has strong and increasing legislative support ("Chimp Research Is Sharply Curbed After Critical Report to NIH," The Chronicle, December 15).
This federal bipartisan bill already has nearly 160 cosponsors, and in just the past six weeks, more than 50 members of the House and Senate have signed on to it. The institute's report is bringing even more support to the bill. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, one of three senators who requested that the institute review the evidence on chimpanzee experimentation, became a co-sponsor of the bill immediately after reviewing the report's conclusions and recommendations.
The report says that current uses of chimpanzees for biomedical research are not necessary. Regarding hepatitis C research, for example, the report says, "The committee finds that chimpanzees are not necessary for HCV antiviral drug discovery and development and does not foresee the future necessity of the chimpanzee model in this area."
More and more members of Congress are realizing that there is just no compelling scientific justification for experimenting on chimpanzees.
John J. Pippin
Director of Academic Affairs
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine