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Bipartisan Chimpanzee Retirement Legislation Passes House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted without opposition to give the National Institutes of Health the much-needed flexibility within its budget to retire government-owned chimpanzees from laboratories to sanctuaries, and to continue supporting those already in sanctuary. The Senate passed a similar bill two weeks ago, and it’s expected that the Senate will promptly take up the measure passed by the House today. The Humane Society of the United States expresses thanks to House leaders for the passage of S. 252, which includes other health-related policies unrelated to animal care. We hope the final bill gets to the desk of President Obama by the end of the week.

The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act--which was signed into law in 2000--put a limit on sanctuary spending, although NIH has had no limit on laboratory spending for chimpanzee care. Sanctuaries provide higher welfare standards for chimpanzees at a lower cost to taxpayers than housing in barren labs. Title III of S. 252 (House amendment to the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers Who Deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act) is the portion of the bill that deals with chimpanzee retirement through amendments to the CHIMP Act. The bill was considered under suspension of the rules and passed by voice vote.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “It’s time to retire chimpanzees who have been used in research for decades and to provide funding for their care in accredited sanctuaries. This legislation will improve the lives of chimps and it will save taxpayer dollars, because sanctuaries operate more efficiently than laboratories.”

The bipartisan amendments were sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Ranking Member Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

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