Quantcast

Huge Victory: U.S. Government Slams Door on Invasive Experiments on Chimps

I’ve made a series of announcements in the last three years about ongoing progress in the effort to end the era of invasive experiments on chimpanzees. Here’s another, and it’s a great one.

According to news reports, the NIH has determined that the 20 government-owned chimpanzees at Texas Biomedical Research Institute—the site of an HSUS undercover investigation—are going to be moved to sanctuary at Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary. Above, Sabrina, a chimpanzee formerly retired from the NIH to Chimp Haven. Photo credit: Brandon Wade/AP Images for The HSUS

On Nov. 18, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it has scuttled plans to maintain a colony of 50 chimpanzees for research—reversing a decision the agency made a little more than two years ago. At that time, the research agency said it would end all invasive chimp experiments, but maintain 50 chimps in an “ethologically appropriate” environment in the event they were needed for research down the line. Now, we really see the agency closing and locking the door behind the chimps and throwing away the key on their way out of the laboratories.

And there’s more good news. According to news reports, the agency has also determined that the 20 government-owned chimpanzees at Texas Biomedical Research Institute—the site of a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) undercover investigation where we uncovered dismal conditions for the primates housed there—are going to be the next group of chimpanzees moved to sanctuary at Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary.

Moving these chimpanzees to sanctuary is not only the right thing to do, but it will also save taxpayer dollars due to the lower cost of care. We applaud NIH director Francis Collins for his foresight in taking this action. The Institute of Medicine concluded that there are alternatives to using chimps in invasive experiments.

This latest announcement by NIH comes in the wake of enhanced federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for captive chimpanzees. The HSUS and other groups petitioned successfully for this change, and as a result any private laboratory that wishes to use chimpanzees in harmful or invasive research must obtain a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and show that the research would benefit wild populations. Further, any permit would be subject to public comment. Therefore, we know that as of Sept. 14, no invasive research has been conducted on chimpanzees. And, with NIH’s announcement, there’s reason to believe it will never happen again with government funding.

Approximately 700 chimpanzees remain in laboratories with around 300 owned by the federal government. But we are working on travel plans for every one of them, starting with the group at Texas Biomedical. The HSUS stands ready to work with stakeholders, including the government, Chimp Haven and other sanctuaries, laboratories, the public and other animal protection groups, to ensure all chimpanzees are retired to high-quality sanctuaries. It will take our collective action and resources to push this issue over the finish line but it is the least these chimpanzees deserve after all they have been through.

It’s rare to close out a category of animal use so emphatically. That’s exactly what’s happening here, and it’s thrilling.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Only 3 Northern White Rhinos Left on Earth After Death of Nola at San Diego Zoo

Landmark Ruling Finds Japanese Whalers Guilty of Contempt of Court

Yellowstone National Park Proposes Slaughtering 1,000 Wild Bison

7 Ultimate Hikes From Around the World That Should Be on Your Bucket List

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Rio San Antonio, in the headwaters basin of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, will lose federal protections under a new rule. Bob Wick / BLM California

By Tara Lohan

The Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande. Along the way it plays important roles for wildlife, irrigation, recreation and other cultural uses, and provides 40 percent of the water supply for the city of Santa Fe's 85,000 residents.

Read More
Climate activists protest Chase Bank's continued funding of the fossil fuel industry on May 16, 2019 by setting up a tripod-blockade in midtown Manhattan, clogging traffic for over an hour. Michael Nigro / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Climate campaigners on Friday expressed hope that policymakers who are stalling on taking decisive climate action would reconsider their stance in light of new warnings from an unlikely source: two economists at J.P. Morgan Chase.

Read More
Sponsored
Protesters holding signs in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en Nation outside the Canadian Consulate in NYC. The Indigenous Peoples Day NYC Committee (IPDNYC), a coalition of 13 Indigenous Peoples and indigenous-led organizations gathered outside the Canadian Consulate and Permanent Mission to the UN to support the Wet'suwet'en Nation in their opposition to a Coastal GasLink pipeline scheduled to enter their traditional territory in British Columbia, Canada. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

Tensions are continuing to rise in Canada over a controversial pipeline project as protesters enter their 12th day blockading railways, demonstrating on streets and highways, and paralyzing the nation's rail system

Read More
padnpen / iStock / Getty Images

Yet another reason to avoid the typical western diet: eating high-fat, highly processed junk food filled with added sugars can impair brain function and lead to overeating in just one week.

Read More
Horseshoe Bend (seen above) is a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River in Page, Arizona. didier.camus / Flickr / public domain

Millions of people rely on the Colorado River, but the climate crisis is causing the river to dry up, putting many at risk of "severe water shortages," according to new research, as The Guardian reported.

Read More