There’s good news for environmentalists with the announcement that NIH will stop testing on chimps and effectively start phasing out of the practice.
- Currently, there are 300 chimps in NIH laboratories
- Their retirement began in 2012
- NIH initially stated that they will be keeping 50 chimps for research emergencies in 2013
- This year, they have announced that they will retire all of them
It has been an issue for many conservationists and animal rights group activists that continual research is being conducted on chimpanzees. In fact, their actions have started taking effects a few years back. And now, it seems they have reached the final stretch. Several institutions will stop biomedical testing on chimps.
They have been one of the biggest contributors to potential breakthroughs in the scientific community, particularly biology. According to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), their DNA is 98% like our own, which made them the perfect test subjects. Chimpanzees have often been used for research, purposefully infected with diseases such as HIV or hepatitis for the sake of studies.
However, their time has ended and their participation is no longer strictly necessary, as Collins stated back in 2012.
New scientific methods and technologies have deemed their participation as optional. Thus, it paved the way for animal rights activists to assure their safe retirement into zoos or sanctuaries. It’s been a long process that required several years, but now no longer sees a reason for delay.
Back in 2013, 6 of the 310 chimpanzees had been sent in the Chimp Haven sanctuary. Some of had unfortunately passed away before they had a chance to be given a different sort of life. And, since then, various groups have been urging the NIH to release the remainder of their 300 chimps still held for testing. That is the number currently found within research institutions today.
Two years ago, the decision had remained that the NIH will continue to retire the chimpanzees from research laboratories only after they pick 50 of them to keep for medical research emergencies. The process was also warned that it could take several years. The time is up though, and NIH have made an even better offer, claiming that they will start releasing all chimps instead.
There is no more reason to keep them, including the 50 others they originally planned to hold. According to Dr. Collins, due to many factors, which includes the labeling of chimps as ‘endangered’ by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they will no longer delay the retirement of any of the animals. All will be shipped off to various sanctuaries operated by institutions such as Chimp Haven.
It’s not yet known when the remainder of 300 chimps will be released, but the first group will reportedly be retired by the end of this year.
Image source: indianapublicmedia.org