A big step forward for chimpanzees today. The NIH has decided to accept most of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations proposed in January that include the retirement of the vast majority of chimpanzees supported by the federal government. Read the NIH press release here and the full report here.
It is unfortunate that the NIH plans to hold fifty chimpanzees for possible continued research, as recommended by the IOM. We don’t see fifty as a generic number – we know that each of those fifty chimpanzees is an individual who should live out the rest of their life in sanctuary, but, overall, today represents a leap forward for chimpanzees. There will be no immediate breeding within that group of fifty and the NIH will revisit whether they believe it’s necessary to maintain that group in five years. The NIH also did not accept the recommendation to provide 1,000 square of space per chimp for those chimpanzees who do remain in research – the NIH will be gathering more information on that recommendation.