June 28, 2009

‘Bones’ star seeks ape sanctuary support

A TV actress who plays a forensic anthropologist asked U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to support a bill that would phase out some experiments on chimpanzees.

The Great Ape Protection Act, introduced recently in the House, would phase out invasive experiments on chimpanzees and would release federally owned chimps to sanctuaries.

Emily Deschanel, who portrays Dr. Temperance Bones Brennan in the crime drama Bones, late last week asked Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to be a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Noting her television character uses bones to solve crimes, Deschanel said in her letter to Waxman that she doesn't need any more evidence to know that the way we treat chimpanzees is unacceptable. Chimpanzees used in experiments suffer immensely.

Many of the chimpanzees have spent the bulk of their lives in cramped cages about the size of a kitchen table, she said in her letter. The legislation would allow about 500 chimpanzees to live their lives in sanctuaries.

Deschanel said evidence indicates chimps failed as models for human disease, which, along with ethical concerns, led to a decline in experiments on them.

The United States is the only country sill using chimpanzees in large-scale research, she wrote. It's time to join the rest of the world and give these animals the peace they deserve.