Tags: nih | research | chimps | sanctuary | retire

NIH: Research Chimps Will All Be Retired to Sanctuary

Image: NIH: Research Chimps Will All Be Retired to Sanctuary
In this image released on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, chimps gather around a manmade "termite mound," where they'll use sticks and bamboo to fish out applesauce, honey, and other tasty treats. (Brandon Wade/AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 03:43 PM

The NIH announced this week that it plans to retire all of its research chimps over the next two years, ending a controversial government program.

The National Institutes of Health initially announced in 2013 that it would significantly reduce the number of chimpanzees used for research activities. At the time, the agency said it would keep just 50 chimps for biomedical research.

But this week, Nature magazine reported that a memo from NIH director Francis Collins, sent out on Monday, indicated that all NIH-owned chimps would be sent to sanctuaries, in a move that would officially end the program. In addition, the agency will begin withdrawing support for chimpanzees it has maintained but does not own.

"I think this is the natural next step of what has been a very thoughtful five-year process of trying to come to terms with the benefits and risks of trying to perform research with these very special animals," Collins told Nature. "We reached a point where in that five years the need for research has essentially shrunk to zero."

In 2013, Collins said "new scientific methods and technologies have rendered [chimps'] use in research largely unnecessary."

"Their likeness to humans has made them uniquely valuable for certain types of research, but also demands greater justification for their use," he said. "After extensive consideration with the expert guidance of many, I am confident that greatly reducing their use in biomedical research is scientifically sound and the right thing to do."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June extended endangered-species protection to chimpanzees.

The news that the chimps would be released to sanctuaries was greeted happily online:



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The NIH announced this week that it plans to retire all of its research chimps over the next two years, ending a controversial government program.
nih, research, chimps, sanctuary, retire
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2015-43-19
Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 03:43 PM
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