In 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seized 288 chimps from a failing private laboratory, The Coulston Foundation, and held them as a “research reserve colony” at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) on Holloman Air Force Base, in New Mexico. All of these chimps have spent long and difficult years in laboratories, but since 2001 have been free from invasive tests and have seen their day to day lives slowly improve.
The NIH recently announced plans to move this group of mostly elderly, chronically ill chimpanzees to another lab for use in further research.
One of the chimps slated for transfer is Flo, currently the eldest surviving chimp in the Alamogordo colony. Flo was acquired from a zoo in Memphis, Tennessee in 1972. Her records (partial notes focusing on potential traumatic or stressful events, received via Freedom of Information Act) hint at what she has been subjected to over the years.
The last few years she has lived at APF with other elder chimpanzees with indoor-outdoor access, fresh fruit, and enrichment. The expected captive chimpanzee lifespan is 50. Flo turned 53 last month. Why subject her to this move? Why put her at risk for further invasive studies? What she deserves is release to sanctuary, where she can roam with other chimps.
According to National Institutes of Health records, the Alamogordo Primate Facility today holds 169 chimpanzees.
Contact Congress today and ask for support of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810/H.R. 1513). This bill would end government testing on chimpanzees and retire federally-owned chimps, like the Alamogordo Primate Facility chimpanzees, to sanctuary at last.
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