The actors are protesting the U.S. government’s plan to conduct experiments on the primates

August 13, 2010 04:30 PM

To the 200 chimpanzees whose fates may take them from a New Mexico primate facility to a Texas research laboratory – you have Vampire Pam and Detective Jimmy Doyle on your side.

Actors Kristin Bauer of True Blood and Gene Hackman of French Connection fame have written letters protesting the National Institutes of Health’s decision to transfer the chimps to Texas, where they will be used in research experiments.

“I’ve always been fascinated by chimpanzees,” writes Bauer in her letter addressed to Francis Collins, the government agency’s director. “Sending these individuals to Texas to be used in painful, invasive experiments is not an ethically sound plan.”

Hackman, a New Mexico resident, writes in his letter that no other developed nation uses chimpanzees in large-scale experiments other than the United States.

“Many of these chimpanzees are now more than 30 years old, and some may not survive being transported to San Antonio,” he writes. “These astonishingly intelligent animals have given their lives to research and should be retired.”

For its part, the NIH has released a statement defending the plan, saying that “chimpanzees have been crucial for conducting research that has led to important advances in human health.”

The relocation is scheduled to take place in 2011.

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