True Blood star and animal advocate Kristin Bauer has launched a new campaign to protect chimpanzees in captivity and you can help!

According to a press release from Change.org, Bauer created her first petition on the website, asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide protection to chimpanzees being used in research, entertainment industries, and kept as household pets. “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.” The actress also tweeted that her inspiration to start the campaign, along with PCRM, was Dr. Jane Goodall, creator of the Jane Goodall Institute and long-time hero for chimpanzees.

The petition explains, “Chimpanzees have been recognized as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1990, but only wild chimpanzees are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Captive chimpanzees in the U.S. used in  painful experiments, entertainment and kept as pets don’t get any of the protections given to chimpanzees in the wild. Studies have shown that when people see chimpanzees used in commercials and interacting with people in the media, it leads them to believe that chimpanzees not only make good pets, but that they aren’t even endangered.”

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has joined Bauer in the campaign. PCRM doctor John Pippin said, “The Endangered Species Act should protect all chimpanzees, including those being used in laboratory experiments…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.”

The petition, currently at 1,389 signatures and with a goal of 1,500, is expected by Change.org to receive many more signers and a lot of attention for chimpanzees in need of protection. Director of Organizing for the website, Stephanie Feldstein said, “It’s really impressive to see Kristin Bauer rally her fans around giving chimpanzees a voice…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.”

Bauer has asked her True Blood fans to join in, and her fellow television vampire and animal advocate Ian Somerhalder has signed and tweeted for support from his followers saying, “Pls sign @BauervanStraten petit’n to US Fish&Wildlife to add captured chimps to endangered species b4 they go extinct.”

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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