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December 18, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States Applauds NIH’s Plan to Retire Chimpanzees to Sanctuary

The HSUS contributes $500,000 to construct sanctuary space at Chimp Haven

  • Chimpanzee sanctuaries provide higher standards of care at a lower cost to taxpayers. iStockphoto

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the National Institutes of Health for the decision to move all of the federally-owned chimpanzees at the New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven, the federal chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La., over the next 12 to 15 months.

“This is a ray of light for captive chimpanzees,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “NIH has worked diligently to see that the federally owned chimps at New Iberia Research Center will be sent to a world-class sanctuary, and The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to fund a portion of the construction costs at this facility.” 

The HSUS is contributing $500,000 toward needed funding for these animals. Total funds needed include approximately $2.3 million for additional construction to house all of the federally owned animals at Chimp Haven. Approximately half of the chimpanzees can be accommodated by existing space at Chimp Haven.

Collaborating for chimpanzees

The HSUS, Chimp Haven, and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, an independent, non-profit public charity, have launched coordinated fundraising campaigns to support the project and raise additional funds for construction and care for the animals. The HSUS’s contribution is made possible through the generosity of HSUS supporter Audrey Steele Burnand of Newport Beach, Calif.

New Iberia Research Center was the site of a 9-month HSUS undercover investigation, the results of which were released in 2009.

In September, NIH announced this group of chimpanzees would be moved out of NIRC by August 2013 and would be declared permanently ineligible for research. At the time, NIH planned to move 10 chimpanzees to Chimp Haven and the remainder to another laboratory, Texas Biomedical Research Institute. However, after collaborating with The HSUS, Chimp Haven, and other groups, the NIH developed a plan to move all of the chimpanzees to sanctuary at Chimp Haven.

“We have enjoyed working over the years with the staff of HSUS on issues affecting chimpanzees in our country,” says Linda Brent, president and director of Chimp Haven. “The retirement of more than 100 research chimpanzees is testament to the success that can be achieved through partnership and cooperation.”

Please make a donation to support this group of chimpanzees.

Facts

  • A December 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council could not identify any area of current biomedical research for which chimpanzee use is necessary. Further, the report pointed to several available alternatives to chimpanzee use and called for increased support for the development of more alternative research methods.
  • Immediately following the release of the Institute of Medicine report, the NIH halted any new funding for chimpanzee research and established a Working Group to advise them on the implementation of the IOM report findings. The Working Group is expected to present their recommendations in January 2013.
  • Prior to the IOM report, approximately 80 to 90 percent of chimpanzees in laboratories weren't being used and instead are warehoused. Sanctuaries provide higher standards of care at a lower cost to taxpayers.
  • The HSUS is urging Congress to pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, S. 810 by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and H.R. 1513 by Reps. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Dave Reichert, R-Wash., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I., to phase out invasive experiments on chimpanzees and retire all federally-owned chimps to sanctuaries.
  • The HSUS is also a strong supporter of Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Fla., which is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world with about 280 of these great apes.

Media Note: Download b-roll of the NIRC undercover investigation.

Media Contact: Niki Ianni, 301-548-7793, nianni@humanesociety.org

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