Pamela Anderson is pressing Congress to help find a cure for hepatitis C — a disease she’s battling — without experimenting on chimpanzees.

She’s calling on both Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep. Henry Waxman to ban invasive chimpanzee experiments and support modern, human-based research methods. In a letter dated May 13, Ms. Anderson asks the congressmen to co-sponsor the Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326). The bipartisan legislation would phase out invasive chimpanzee experiments and release all federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries. The bill currently has more than 140 congressional co-sponsors.

“As one of the more than 3 million Americans living with hepatitis C, I am writing to ask that you take steps to end ineffective and cruel research using chimpanzees and direct federal funds to modern, human-based research methods that will be more effective at finding a vaccine and treatment for hepatitis C and other deadly diseases,” writes Anderson. "I implore that you encourage the National Institutes of Health and other agencies to invest in more effective and efficient human cell based technologies that are more likely to yield successful results.

“I have a personal interest in supporting the search for a vaccine for this disease and others, but it is clear that confining chimpanzees to small cages for decades, at great cost to these highly intelligent and social animals, is not moving us closer to that goal.

“I am writing to you now to urge you to call for a hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee about the Great Ape Protection Act, a bill that would end ineffective and harmful experiments on chimpanzees and release federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries.”

More than 1,000 chimpanzees currently live in laboratories in the United States. Many live in cages about the size of a kitchen table for decades. The United States is the only country still using chimps in large-scale research.

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