By Judy Kurtz - 02/16/12 12:19 AM EST
Alec Baldwin cherishes chimps.
That is clear in a letter ITK has obtained that was penned by the “30 Rock” actor. The missive, which will soon be sent to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), urges for the passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would end federally funded research with chimpanzees and other apes.
The Emmy Award-winning performer, who was kicked off a plane in December when he wouldn’t stop playing the game Words With Friends on his phone, writes in his letter to the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “I’ve made a pledge not to be in any movies or TV shows that use chimpanzees or other great apes. But unfortunately, my tax dollars are still being spent on chimpanzee abuse — and I’m writing to ask for your help in changing that.”
In other words, don’t expect him to appear in the umpteenth version of “King Kong.”
Baldwin isn’t the only big name to lend his support to the measure. Daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres and partner Portia de Rossi have also sent a letter to Boxer. And despite starring in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” actor James Franco recorded a video calling for a ban on chimpanzee testing.
Actor Woody Harrelson, who plays Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) campaign adviser Steve Schmidt in HBO’s upcoming “Game Change” movie about the 2008 presidential election, also authored a letter to Boxer on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The movie star wrote to the junior senator, “I hope you will agree that chimpanzees deserve better.”
Opponents of the legislation argue that ending the scientific use of the animals could put a stop to potentially life-saving research.
The Senate legislation, sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), is backed by 13 members of the upper chamber. The bill has been referred to the panel headed by Boxer, who is not yet a co-sponsor. The House version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), has racked up 154 co-sponsors.