NIH Decides on Chimp Working Group Recommendations

June 26, 2013⎯The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its detailed responses to the recommendations presented last January by the Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research (Working Group) and to public comments on those recommendations. The agency says that it will largely accept the Working Group’s conclusions, with some exceptions.

The NIH highlighted the “milestone” that this new approach to chimpanzee use in science represents, because it will bring retirement for most NIH-owned chimpanzees, and proposals for experiments will be subject to a more stringent level of scrutiny by a special panel.

Understanding intense public interest in the well-being of chimpanzees, the agency held a news conference, which was attended by major media, and emphasized that chimpanzees are deserving of special consideration. NIH Director Francis Collins said, “I am confident that greatly reducing their use in biomedical research is scientifically sound and the right thing to do.”

AAVS anticipates that continued vigilance will be necessary, with a priority to ensure that retired chimpanzees do not languish in research facilities.

AAVS applauds the efforts of its members and other organizations that commented to NIH and encouraged an end to research on chimpanzees. Researchers also commented and advocates for the animals were an important voice to tip the scales for the chimps.

Take Action
In another important effort, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is accepting comments regarding its proposed listing of all chimpanzees as endangered. Currently, only chimps in the wild are listed as endangered, while those in captivity are considered threatened. This distinction allows for the continued use of captive chimpanzees in entertainment and research. However, listing all chimpanzees as endangered will help end the exploitation of these animals. Also, unlike the new NIH policy on government owned chimps, the FWS proposal will affect privately owned chimpanzees used in research as well.

Tell the FWS all chimpanzees deserve protection!




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