The CHIMP Act of 2000 was enthusiastically supported by many national animal-advocacy organizations and by primatologist Jane Goodall, and many animal advocates regard the CHIMP Act as the most significant piece of federal legislation since the 1985 amendments to the federal Animal Welfare Act, (27) itself an extremely modest law.
(31) The CHIMP Act was described as "fiscally sound legislation that will better serve the taxpayers as well as the animals." (32) Animal advocates also promoted the legislation as cost-efficient.
Moreover, the CHIMP Act was explicitly proposed as a way of ensuring that research involving chimpanzees can continue.
Although the CHIMP Act purports to prohibit further invasive research on "retired" chimpanzees in the sanctuary system, the Act has two important exceptions.
Animal advocates who supported the CHIMP Act either failed to appreciate that such a sanctuary system controlled by the government would facilitate, and not inhibit, research on "retired" chimpanzees, or they ignored that fact.
Supporters of the CHIMP Act claimed that the exception for invasive research was needed to get support for the bill by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)--and that is precisely the problem.
In the face of concerns expressed by myself and others about the CHIMP Act before its enactment, animal advocates who supported the Act argued that the solution to the problem presented by the exception allowing invasive research was to support the Act and then to challenge in court any determination to use sanctuary chimpanzees in further research.
The CHIMP Act provides two levels of protection to administrative decisions to perform experiments on sanctuary chimpanzees.
A research team, led by psychologist Robert Ward of Bangor University, Wales, says that people can usually tell whether or not a chimp acts
dominantly and is physically active simply by looking at a picture of the ape's expressionless mug.