Under an earlier ruling from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, effective as of today, it is now against the law to harm, harass, kill or cause injury to chimps, both in captivity and in the wild. The significance of this classification is beyond measure for hundreds of chimps used in biomedical research across the United States, who from this moment forward, have been given reprieve from their lives of misery. Research labs were given the opportunity to apply for exceptions, but none chose to do so.
Prior to this ruling, the U.S. was the only developed country where chimps were still used as laboratory test animals, subjected to painful procedures and denied the most basic semblance of a normal life. Now, many, if not all of these animals will be sent into retirement at sanctuaries.
Additionally, chimps held captive as props for entertainment or sold in the exotic wildlife trade finally have relief as well. Under the new distinction, it is now "illegal to sell chimpanzees in the interstate pet trade or to engage in commercial transport of the animals across state lines," as the Humane Society notes. Permits are now required for anyone wishing to deviate from the new protections, but will only be issued if it will benefit the survival of the species.