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September 21, 2012

National Institutes of Health Calls 110 NIRC Chimpanzees “Permanently Ineligible” for Invasive Research

The HSUS welcomes this victory for chimpanzees

  • Permanently ineligibility for research means a victory for these chimpanzees. iStockphoto

The Humane Society of the United States today welcomes a decision by the National Institutes of Health for making 110 chimps currently housed at the New Iberia Research Center “permanently ineligible” for research and is moving them out of that facility, including a move of 10 of the animals to Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana.

According to officials at NIH, the other 100 chimpanzees to be directly affected by this announcement will be deemed permanently ineligible for research and will be moved from New Iberia Research Center to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. NIRC, where The HSUS conducted a comprehensive and widely publicized undercover investigation in 2009, will no longer be receiving funds from NIH for chimpanzee research. All 110 chimpanzees will be moved out of NIRC before August 2013.

“NIH’s announcement is a significant step forward in our goal toward ending invasive experiments on chimpanzees and facilitating the move of the current population of chimps in laboratories to reputable sanctuaries,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “With the Institute of Medicine finding last year that the use of chimps in invasive experiments is ‘largely unnecessary,’ we look forward to working with NIH and the Congress to develop a workable plan to move all of the government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries in the years ahead.” 

A Working Group appointed by NIH is currently making recommendations on how to implement the IOM report, which was issued last December. According to NIH, the government owns 705 chimpanzees.

The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S.810 and H.R. 1513) would phase out all invasive research on chimpanzees and retire government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary while saving U.S. tax dollars and reducing the federal deficit by approximately $25 million per year. The bill currently has 173 co-sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate.

Media Contact: Niki Ianni, 610.999.6932, nianni@humanesociety.org

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