This could be big:
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Tuesday to bring captive chimpanzees under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, a move that would create one more major barrier to conducting invasive medical research on the animals for human diseases.
If the proposal is enacted, permits will be required for any experiment that harms chimps, and both public and privately financed researchers will have to show that the experiment contributes to the survival of chimps that remain in the wild. The recommendation is now open to public comment for 60 days.
And this would be even bigger, and an interesting precedent for other captive species that are listed as endangered:
Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society, who praised the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision, said his organization and others would use the comment period to pursue the issue of using chimps in entertainment.
While the argument for medical research has been that there is a compelling human need, he said there was no such argument for using young chimps in television advertisements, for example, which he described as “entirely frivolous.”
But under the Endangered Species Act, only uses that are considered harmful or harassing require permits. And use in entertainment has not traditionally been considered to be in the same class as taking blood or other invasive procedures.
In separate interviews, Mr. Pacelle and Dr. Goodall said chimps who are trained for entertainment are taken away from their social group when they are young, which is very harmful to them.