The National Institutes of Health announced yesterday it is retiring 110 of its 563 research chimpanzees.
The decision is the result of a confluence of forces. Last December a report from the Institute of Medicine said that there was almost no scientific need for doing biomedical research on chimpanzees. The NIH responded by suspending all new federally supported chimp research. This July, a bill to ban all ape research in the United States, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, cleared a key hurdle in Congress when a Senate committee moved the legislation forward.
After years of marching in lockstep with the biomedical industry, the NIH is, apparently, trying to stay ahead of the curve on this issue. Unfortunately there are still 453 government chimps and somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 privately owned research chimps that don’t belong in laboratories. Many of them are long past their research date and are simply being warehoused. Some have been behind bars 30 and 40 years. There is simply no moral justification for this.
The NIH is no friend of primates. Keep the pressure on your representative in Congress to pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.
Source: Washington Post.