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February 23rd, 2012 | By Alicia Silverstone

For the past few months, I’ve been drawing attention to the senseless experimentation/torture of captive chimpanzees in the name of research. This is a cause that is very close to my heart. Chimpanzees are thinking, feeling beings. Many are still senselessly tortured in the name of science on a daily basis, in this country and around the world. Progress is being made, however, and there are many ways you can help protect these vulnerable creatures.
In December, The National Institutes of Health suspended all new grants for biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees following the recommendation of an expert committee of the Institute of Medicine, which revealed that most chimpanzee research and experimentation was unnecessary. Dr Francis S. Collins, who is the director of the N.I.H. told reporters that as our closest living relatives, chimps deserve special consideration and respect.
The fight is far from over and there are still things you can do to help.
It’s not too late to show your support for The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (H.R. 1513/S. 810) and write a letter to your representatives in government to ask for legislation that will completely phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive research, release the more than 500 federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries, and prohibit breeding of chimpanzees for the purpose of conducting research.
Another way to help is encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to list all chimps, including captive chimps, as endangered. You can fill out this petition HERE to help make that happen.
Educate yourself on what life is really like for chimps living in laboratories.
Donate to sanctuaries like Save The Chimps.
Most important is to just do something. Share links on your Facebook and Twitter and help get the word out that these animals need to be set free so that they can have some kind of meaningful and happy existence while they are still on this planet.
When I breastfeed, I feel like my Bear is a little monkey; they are the same.
Please let me know how you feel about this issue in the comments below, and share any other information or ideas you have. Let’s save these beautiful animals.

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