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article imageDecision outstanding on research chimps

By Tim Sandle     Mar 16, 2013 in Science
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) will finalize plans for what to do with its remaining research chimpanzees by the end of March 2013. U.S. citizens have a chance to comment before the decision is made.
Earlier this year the Digital Journal reported that U.S. government scientists decided that almost all chimpanzees kept for federally funded research will be retired from laboratories. The chimps were placed in a national sanctuary (Chimp Haven outside Shreveport, L.A.).
However, a decision is still to be taken about what to do with the few remaining chimps. Wired science reports that the NIH will soon take a decision as to whether it follow recommendations from a report released earlier this year which recommended that the agency retire all but 50 of its approximately 450 research chimpanzees.
The recommendation was by a working group of the Council of Councils, a federal advisory group who issued a 190-page report called "Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity." This led to NIH Director Francis Collins stating that "NIH will not issue any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until processes for implementing the recommendations are in place", according to Science Insider.
NIH’s 50 remaining research chimps may be used in research into a hepatitis C vaccine or into developing new monoclonal antibodies. This is the view taken by the the American Physiological Society, which considers that the chimps’ scientific value justifies some invasive medical research. Alternatively, the chimps could be released to a sanctuary and all chimp research ended.
U.S. citizens have the opportunity to state what they think should happen to the current research chimps as well as the future use of primates in research. The report is open for public comment until March 23.
More about Chimps, Research, Science, Environment, animal experiments
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