The U.S. National Institute of Health has announced they will retire 110 chimps from biomedical research, stating that there is no scientific need for doing any further research on the chimps.
On June 4, 2012, the Humane Society of the United States had delivered more than 30,000 letters from the public to members of the National Institutes of Health’s Council of Councils, requesting they evaluate the use of chimpanzees in NIH-supported research and end all federal-owned chimpanzees. The letters requested:
)1) The NIH end the funding of projects or contracts involving the invasive use of chimpanzees or chimpanzee breeding.
(2) Retire all federally owned chimpanzees to suitable sanctuaries.
(3) Refocus efforts towards the further development of alternative research methods.
According to the Institute of Medicine, "...[they] in collaboration with the National Research Council, conducted an in-depth analysis of the scientific necessity for chimpanzees in NIH-funded biomedical and behavioral research."
Scientific experiments have used chimpanzees to advance science and develop new medicines for debilitating diseases. However, alternative research tools have been substituted for using the chimps as research subjects due to public animosity. NIH stated that while this is their goal, it is impossible to predict whether research on emerging or new diseases may need the use of chimpanzees in the future.
The HSUS and similar groups are currently pushing a bill before Congress that would gradually phase out invasive chimp research altogether. The federally funded chimps, located at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, will either retire to a Texas lab or a chimp sanctuary in Louisiana.
According to a PBS report, about 1,000 chimps are available for research in the U.S. — roughly half are owned by the government. Now, the NIH says its chimps at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana will be moving. And starting next August, the facility won't receive any more NIH funds.