Update: In 2015, following pressure from PETA and other animal advocates, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that all captive chimpanzees would now be reclassified as “endangered,” effectively ending invasive experiments on our closest living genetic relatives. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) promised to retire all federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries. Sadly, since this announcement, few have been retired and many have died while waiting. Please urge NIH to retire these animals now!
Originally posted on September 23rd:
More than 100 chimpanzees will soon be freed from laboratory cages after years of pressure by PETA and other animal protection groups led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to announce that it will be permanently retiring all the federally “owned” chimpanzees at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, making them off limits for future experimentation.
The announcement follows a landmark report issued last year by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which concluded that “most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary.” In the wake of that report, NIH announced that it was suspending funding for any new experiments on chimpanzees and that it would be reevaluating currently funded experiments on chimpanzees.
It seems that NIH is making good on its promise.
PETA has campaigned for the release of chimpanzees from laboratories for decades. In addition to publicizing video footage showing the abuse of chimpanzees in laboratories, PETA successfully campaigned for the permanent retirement of the more than 200 chimpanzees held at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. We also submitted comments to and testified before the NAS, and we submitted official comments to NIH this spring outlining recommendations for the agency’s implementation of the NAS report, including calling for the retirement of all chimpanzees in laboratories.
While NIH’s announcement marks a tremendous step forward, hundreds more chimpanzees—in federally funded and private laboratories—must still be retired.