Sunday 25 September 2016

US cease using chimpanzees for medical research

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 19/11/2015 | 19:40

50 chimpanzees held by the US government for medical research will be sent to sanctuaries
50 chimpanzees held by the US government for medical research will be sent to sanctuaries

The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) have confirmed that the federal government's controversial history of using chimpanzees for biomedical research has ended.

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The director of the NIH announced yesterday that 50 chimpanzees held by the government for medical research will be sent to sanctuaries.

"It is time to acknowledge that there is no further justification for the 50 chimpanzees to continue to be kept available for invasive biomedical research," Collins said in a statement.

The NIH began phasing out its funding and use of research chimps prior to 2013, at which time it housed nearly 400 of the animals in states such as Texas.

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"Americans have benefited greatly from the chimpanzees' service to biomedical research," he said in 2012, "but new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary."

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Back then, he called the decision a milestone, saying chimps are "special animals, our closest relatives" whose DNA is "98 per cent... the same as ours".

The decision leaves about 400 other chimpanzees available for research at private facilities.

Kathleen Conlee, vice-president for animal research issues at the Humane Society, vowed to continue the campaign for their release.

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