National Institute of Health (NHI) has announced that they are shutting down their chimpanzee medical research program.
Earlier, around two years ago, the chimpanzees used for medical research in US were retired. They were sent to sanctuaries for the rest of their lives.
50 currently owned primates will be sent to sanctuaries. Another 82 chimpanzees who are supported by NIH, but owned by medical research institutes will also be sent out over time.
Francis Collins, Director of NIH said about this decision in an interview for ‘Nature’, : “I think this is the natural next step of what has been a very thoughtful five-year process of trying to come to terms with the benefits and risks of trying to perform research with these very special animals. We reached a point where in that five years the need for research has essentially shrunk to zero.”
In 2013, around 310 chimpanzees were retired as per the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. IOM’s report also set the extremely high bar for allowing chimpanzee experiments to take place. The experiments of IOM are accepted as serving the greatest benefit to human involved research.