Breaking News: Government Slams Door on Invasive Experiments on Chimps

By on November 18, 2015 with 21 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

I’ve made a series of announcements in the last three years about ongoing progress in the effort to end the era of invasive experiments on chimpanzees. Here’s another, and it’s a great one.

Today, the National Institutes of Health announced it has scuttled plans to maintain a colony of 50 chimpanzees for research—reversing a decision the agency made a little over two years ago. At that time, the research agency said it would end all invasive chimp experiments, but maintain 50 chimps in an “ethologically appropriate” environment in the event they were needed for research down the line. Now, we really see the agency closing and locking the door behind the chimps and throwing away the key on their way out of the laboratories.

And there’s more good news. According to news reports, the agency has also determined that the 20 government-owned chimpanzees at Texas Biomedical Research Institute—the site of an HSUS undercover investigation where we uncovered dismal conditions for the primates housed there—are going to be the next group of chimpanzees moved to sanctuary at Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary.

Moving these chimpanzees to sanctuary is not only the right thing to do, but it will also save taxpayer dollars due to the lower cost of care. We applaud NIH director Francis Collins for his foresight in taking this action. The Institute of Medicine concluded that there are alternatives to using chimps in invasive experiments.

This latest announcement by NIH comes in the wake of enhanced federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for captive chimpanzees. The HSUS and other groups petitioned successfully for this change, and as a result any private laboratory that wishes to use chimpanzees in harmful or invasive research must obtain a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and show that the research would benefit wild populations. Further, any permit would be subject to public comment. Therefore, we know that as of September 14, no invasive research has been conducted on chimpanzees. And, with NIH’s announcement, there’s reason to believe it will never happen again with government funding.

Approximately 700 chimpanzees remain in laboratories with around 300 owned by the federal government. But we are working on travel plans for every one of them, starting with the group at Texas Biomedical. The HSUS stands ready to work with stakeholders, including the government, Chimp Haven and other sanctuaries, laboratories, the public, and other animal protection groups, to ensure all chimpanzees are retired to high-quality sanctuaries. It will take our collective action and resources to push this issue over the finish line but it is the least these chimpanzees deserve after all they have been through.

It’s rare to close out a category of animal use so emphatically. That’s exactly what’s happening here, and it’s thrilling.

Help our efforts to retire chimpanzees to sanctuary »

Animal Research and Testing, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    Thanks and congratulations to HSUS and NIH Director Francis Collins and all those who helped end this long nightmare for chimps and yay for the chimps! It really is thrilling and a much wanted and needed victory.

  2. Marie says:

    While I am very much encouraged by this news, we cannot rest until all of these animals are in sanctuaries. The 50 that are being held onto, but be released. It is the only right thing to do. Animal research as little to nothing to do with good medicine for humans, so there is no good medical, moral, or ethical reason to not release them to a sanctuary. None.

  3. mary lee rishel says:

    bless this effort
    let these well deserved chimps live out their days with freedom to move, with no painful needles or electrodes or unfair apparatus………..
    I am beyond happy to here our country is becoming humane for the helpless

  4. zlatka ferenc says:

    no experiments more

  5. zlatka ferenc says:

    please no experiments more on chimps

  6. joaniebaby says:

    How about we use animal abusers or pedophiles instead?

  7. Jenny Marisa says:

    Congratulations! Most of all thank you for all the efforts you have done to make a normal life for these chimpanzees – and other beautiful animals – away from laboratories for good..

  8. mary livingstone says:

    Great news. It’s about time!

  9. Shirley says:

    I hope this is true please let it be the cruelty 2 animals is out of hand and getting worse so I really won’t this 2 be true

  10. brigitte vanbekbergen says:

    Please stop experiments on chimps , it isn’t human .

  11. Ana Naumovska says:

    Let Us do some research on Government employees.

  12. Debbie says:

    What about all the beagles and other dogs and animals being used at universities?

  13. Bernadette says:

    I think it a mistake to attach prominence to the ‘endangered species’ aspect of protection. The implication is that whenever a species is not endangered, it is OK to treat them barbarously. The ongoing slaughter of non-endangered whales by the Japanese is a case in point. Nor is it a good idea to provide an avenue under the ‘benefit to wild populations’ rubric, as determined persecutors of animals would be able to mount a specious argument along those lines that would sound good enough to uncaring regulators. So, no loopholes.

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