The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Francis Collins, announced on Wednesday that they are discontinuing their use of chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research! The primates will soon be transferred to an animal sanctuary, where they will join other retired chimps.
Two years ago, 300 chimps were sent to Chimp Haven, an animal sanctuary in Louisiana. The remaining 50 were kept in case there was a public health crisis, but in that time there was never a request for their use. The invasive research on the primates has been rendered essentially obsolete by new technology and scientific methods. As a result, the remaining chimpanzees will join the others at the animal sanctuary once room has been made.
The Washington Post reported that the NIH’s decision could be largely attributed to pressure from organizations such as the Humane Society, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Jane Goodall Institute. The pressure is also said to have contributed to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s addition of captured chimps to the list of endangered species, which means researchers are required to go through the department to obtain a permit allowing them to be used for medical research. Further, researchers will not receive funding from NIH, moving forward.
Once these chimps have been transferred to sanctuaries, they are officially retired, and cannot be used for research again. This amazing development allows these beautiful animals to live their lives in a humane and peaceful environment. To learn more about the Chimp Haven sanctuary, check out the video below!
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