Text of the Great Ape Protection Act

This bill was introduced on April 17, 2008, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 17, 2008 (Introduced).

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Source: GPO



2d Session

H. R. 5852


April 17, 2008

(for himself, Mr. Allen, Mr. Bartlett of Maryland, Mr. Braley of Iowa, Mr. Langevin, Mr. Reichert, Mr. Campbell of California, and Mrs. Bono Mack) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means and Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To prohibit the conducting of invasive research on great apes, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Great Ape Protection Act.


Findings and purpose



Congress finds the following:


Advances in scientific knowledge reveal that our nearest living relatives, great apes (including chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons), bear an exceedingly close genetic relationship to humans.


Great apes are highly intelligent and social animals and research laboratory environments involving invasive research cannot meet their complex social and psychological needs.


Confinement of great apes for purposes of invasive research causes these intelligent and sentient animals to experience harmful stress and suffering, such as profound depression and withdrawal, self mutilation that can result in physical wounding, hair pulling, rocking, and other traumatized or psychotic behaviors.


Invasive research performed on great apes, and the breeding of great apes for these purposes, are economic in nature and substantially affect interstate commerce.


The majority of invasive research and testing conducted on great apes in the United States is for the end purpose of developing drugs, pharmaceuticals, and other products to be sold in the interstate market.


The total costs associated with great ape research have a direct economic impact on interstate commerce.


Care in a research laboratory for a single great ape over the lifespan of the great ape of more than 50 years can cost between $300,000 and $500,000, compared to an approximate cost of $275,000 for high quality care in a sanctuary.


An overwhelming majority of invasive research procedures performed on great apes involve some element of interstate commerce, such that great apes, equipment, and researchers have traveled across state lines.


The regulation of animals and activities as provided in this Act are necessary to effectively regulate interstate and foreign commerce.


Australia, Austria, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have banned or severely limited experiments on great apes and several other countries and the European Union are considering similar bans as well.


The National Research Council (NRC) report entitled Chimpanzees in Research and Strategies for their Ethical Care, Management, and Use, concluded that—


there is a moral responsibility for the long-term care of chimpanzees used for scientific research;


there should be a moratorium on further chimpanzee breeding;


euthanasia as a means of general chimpanzee population control is unacceptable; and


sanctuaries should be created to house chimpanzees in a manner consistent with high standards of lifetime care, social enrichment, and cognitive development.


In December 2000, the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act was signed into law, requiring the Federal Government to provide for permanent retirement of chimpanzees who are identified as no longer being needed in research.


In May 2007, the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources’ (NCRR) decided to permanently end funding for the breeding of Government-owned chimpanzees for research.



The purpose of this Act is to—


prohibit invasive research and the funding of such research both within and outside of the United States on great apes;


prohibit the transport of great apes for purposes of invasive research;


prohibit the breeding of great apes for purposes of invasive research; and


require the permanent retirement of federally owned great apes.




Invasive research prohibition

No person shall conduct invasive research on a great ape.


Federal funding prohibition

No Federal funds may be used to conduct invasive research on a great ape.


Transport prohibition

No person shall knowingly import, export, transport, move, deliver, receive, possess, rent, loan, purchase, or sell a great ape for the purpose of conducting invasive research on such great ape.


Breeding prohibition

No person shall breed a great ape for use in invasive research.



Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit or prevent individualized medical care performed on a great ape by a licensed veterinarian for the benefit of the great ape.




In general

Subject to subsection (b), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide for the permanent retirement of all great apes owned or under the control of the Federal Government that have been used for invasive research.



The Secretary of Health and Human Services may provide for the euthanizing of a great ape owned or under the control of the Federal Government that has been used for invasive research if euthanasia is in the best interests of such great ape, as determined by an attending veterinarian and endorsed by a second, unaffiliated veterinarian.



In this Act:


Great ape

The term great ape includes a chimpanzee, gorilla, bonobo, orangutan, or gibbon.


Invasive research

The term invasive research


means any experimental research that may cause death, bodily injury, pain, distress, fear, injury, or trauma to a great ape, including—


the testing of any drug or intentional exposure to a substance that may be detrimental to the health of a great ape;


research that involves penetrating or cutting the body or removing body parts, restraining, tranquilizing, or anesthetizing a great ape; or


isolation, social deprivation, or other experimental physical manipulations that may be detrimental to the health or psychological well-being of a great ape; and


does not include—


close observation of natural or voluntary behavior of a great ape, provided that the research does not require removal of the great ape from the social group or environment of such great ape or require an anesthetic or sedation event to collect data or record observations; or


post-mortem examination of a great ape following the natural death of such great ape.


Permanent retirement

The term permanent retirement


means that a great ape is placed in a suitable sanctuary that will provide for the lifetime care of the great ape and such great ape will not be used in further invasive research; and


does not include euthanasia.



The term person means—


an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association, or any other private entity,


any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, a State, municipality, or political subdivision of a State; or


any other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.


Suitable sanctuary

The term suitable sanctuary means—


the system referred to in section 481C(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 287a-3a(a)); or


a comparable privately funded sanctuary approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.


Effective date

This Act shall take effect on the date that is 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.