Actress Kristin Bauer, who plays Pam on HBO’s True Blood, has launched a campaign on Change.org with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect captive chimpanzees.

Bauer’s online campaign asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend the endangered species protections currently given to wild chimpanzees to captive chimpanzees used in experiments and the entertainment industry and kept as pets in United States.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the incredible intelligence and rich, complex social lives of chimpanzees,” said Bauer. “It would be shameful to see them go extinct in the wild as we continue to exploit them here in the U.S. in invasive experiments, entertainment and as pets”

Bauer cites studies demonstrating that when people see chimpanzees used in commercials and interacting with humans in the media, they are more likely to believe that chimpanzees not only make good pets, but that they are not endangered in the wild.

“The Endangered Species Act should protect all chimpanzees, including those being used in laboratory experiments,” said John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “No other developed countries allow invasive research on chimpanzees because of ethical and scientific problems with such experiments. The U.S. must do more to protect humankind’s closest genetic relatives.”

Bauer’s campaign is likely to draw national attention to the lack of protections for captive chimpanzees. The actress is encouraging True Blood fans to sign her online petition campaign on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change.

“It’s really impressive to see Kristin Bauer rally her fans around giving chimpanzees a voice,” said Change.org Director of Organizing Stephanie Feldstein. “Through her campaign on Change.org, Kristin’s fans can take action on a cause that’s important to them. Change.org empowers anyone, anywhere to start a campaign on issues that matter to them, and it’s been incredible to watch this campaign take off.”

A proposal to extend protections to captive chimpanzees is currently under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The public comment period for the proposal ends October 31.

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