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NIH May Retire 86% of Government Owned Chimps from Research

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In a move that would nearly end federally funded research on chimpanzees, NIH has proposed that all but 50 of a total of 360 chimps be retired from research.

The committee at the National Institute of Health made a variety of recommendations that are making animal activists very happy. Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, wrote on his blog, “The panel’s recommendations include phasing out all current biomedical research grants involving chimpanzees in laboratories, ending chimpanzee breeding, and retiring the vast majority of government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries.”

Chimp Haven, the only sanctuary that receives government funding to help care for the government owned chimps, is preparing for a decision that could come as soon as March. Right now, NIH is taking public comments on the issue, so if you feel strongly about freeing the 310 chimpanzees in question, get in touch with the them here.

What will happen to the remaining 50 animals who will not be sent to the sanctuary? According to ABC news, they will be kept for behavioral research.

In other good news for the primates, HSUS said that 113 government owned chimps that were freed from New Iberia Research Center are now living much better lives at Chimp Haven.

Would Chimp Haven be ready to take in such a large number of additional chimps? Jennifer Whitaker, Chimp Haven Vice President said, “Chimp Haven applauds the recommendations of the Working Group. We look forward to working closely with the NIH to devise a strategy to retire these chimpanzees to Chimp Haven.” They also wrote on their website, “Assuming the federal government lifts a spending cap to make money available for the sanctuary’s operations and construction needs, Chimp Haven could potentially increase its size dramatically.”

We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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