(Jan. 9, 2013) —The Humane Society of the United States applauds Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Foster City, Calif., for agreeing to not use chimpanzees for research and development. The decision is the latest in a series of recent moves to phase out the use of chimpanzees in research in the United States.
In November 2012, The HSUS submitted a shareholder proposal for consideration at Gilead’s 2013 annual shareholder meeting which urged the company to end the use of chimpanzees in favor of available alternative research methods, citing the company’s previous use of chimpanzees to test a drug developed to treat hepatitis B and C viruses.
Following the submission, Gilead representatives reached out to The HSUS to confirm that the company is not currently using chimpanzees and commited to not using them in the future. As a result, The HSUS has withdrawn the shareholder proposal.
“The Humane Society of the United States thanks Gilead for their consideration of the proposal and applauds them for taking this important step to protect chimpanzees in laboratories,” said Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues for The HSUS.
Gilead joins other pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Idenix Pharmaceuticals and Novo Nordisk which have adopted policies against the use of chimpanzees in research.
• Approximately 950 chimpanzees remain in five laboratories in the United States — the only remaining developed country that continues to use of these animals for invasive research and testing.
• In December 2011, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council released a report that concluded chimpanzees are not necessary for most biomedical and behavioral research, including therapies for people infected with hepatitis B and C, and could not identify any area of current biomedical research for which chimpanzee use is essential.
• Immediately following the release of the Institute of Medicine report, the National Institutes of Health halted any new funding for chimpanzee research and established a Working Group to advise them on the implementation of the IOM report findings. The Working Group is expected to present their recommendations on January 22.
• In December 2012 NIH announced that more than 100 federally owned chimpanzees in laboratories (approximately 20 percent of the federally owned population) will be retired to Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary, within the next year.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the Web at humanesociety.org.