The National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to decrease the use of chimpanzees in its research and to retire most of the animals it currently supports. Only 50 chimpanzees will be retained for future research. The animals will be kept in “ethologically appropriate facilities.” A review panel will also be established to consider research projects proposing the use of chimps. Existing research that does not meet guidelines established by the Institute of Medicine will wind down.
In its announcement, NIH signaled its agreement to most of the recommendations made by the NIH Council of Councils in January 2013. That report called for the retirement of nearly all of the 451 chimps owned or supported by NIH; the animals would be moved to sanctuaries. NIH previously agreed to retire over one hundred chimpanzees.
“Americans have benefitted greatly from the chimpanzees’ service to biomedical research, but new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH. “After extensive consideration with the expert guidance of many, I am confident that greatly reducing their use in biomedical research is scientifically sound and the right thing to do.”
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