Harkin led effort to help retired chimps

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 5 2013 | 1:25 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:30 am in
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As an Iowan who cares deeply about animal welfare, I commend Sen. Tom Harkin for his efforts in the Senate to benefit the American people while at the same time showing compassion to our fellow creatures. Recently, Sen. Harkin led a successful effort to help chimpanzees retired from medical research while saving taxpayer money ó money that may be used for more effective modes of research.

Thanks to Harkin, the National Institutes of Health will continue to have the flexibility to send retired government-owned chimps who were previously used for research into sanctuaries where they will experience grass and trees, and get to live in social groups with other chimps, instead of keeping them in less humane and more costly labs. Itís a no-brainer from an ethical standpoint and also in terms of what is most cost-effective for providing the lifetime care that the NIH is responsible for.

In a time when it seems impossible for Congress to get meaningful work done, he acted and showed compassion to some of the most defenseless creatures in this country. In the process, he brought much-needed attention to this issue and underscored the fact that sanctuaries are a more cost-efficient way of providing long-term care for these complex animals.

Bernie Lettington

Cedar Rapids


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