March 13, 2014

USA: 100 Retired Lab Chimps See Sky for First Time; Bipartisan Chimpanzee Retirement Legislation Passes Senate; Top Pharmaceutical Company Stops Chimpanzee Use in Research


Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, will soon be welcoming more than 100 retired research chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Lafayette, La.—more than doubling the population of chimpanzees at the sanctuary. Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that all of their chimpanzees currently at the south Louisiana laboratory will be retired to Chimp Haven over the next 12-15 months.

To help house many of the incoming chimpanzees, Chimp Haven has to raise $5 million for construction and the lifetime care of the chimpanzees. The sanctuary has established a dedicated fund called The Road to Chimp Haven Campaign. For administrative reasons, the NIH is not able to provide construction funding, but will provide 75 percent of the cost to care for the chimpanzees.

Chimp Haven President and Director, Dr. Linda Brent, says that this news is the result of good faith efforts on all sides to come to an agreement that, above all, is in the best interests of the chimpanzees.

Among those who have pledged major support are The New England Antivivisection Society, the first to step up with a pledge of $100,000. The Humane Society of the United States has pledged $500,000 to the campaign. The National Anti-Vivisection Society has continued its generous support of Chimp Haven with a grant of $25,000 to provide housing and care for the chimpanzees. Also, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health today announced a fund raising campaign for construction for Chimp Haven to expand its facilities.

“This is a historic day for research chimpanzees in the United States,” says Brent. “We look forward to continued cooperation between the NIH, Chimp Haven and animal protection organizations so that we may retire many more chimpanzees in the future.”

To donate to the Road to Chimp Haven please visit


November 14, 2013
[source: Humane Society of the US]

Humane Society Legislative Fund

A barrier in the way of government-owned chimpanzees in laboratories being transferred to sanctuaries has been cleared now that Congress has given final approval to support the project. The Senate gave final approval to the National Institutes of Health to spend money on sanctuary care and to begin fulfilling the agency’s pledge to move laboratory chimpanzees to sanctuaries, a move hailed by The Humane Society of the United States as game-changing for these great apes. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives approved that measure, which amends the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act. The President is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Chimps belong on grass and in trees, not behind bars in small cages in laboratories. When the laboratory chimps claim their new homes in sanctuaries, we will have not only helped chimps, but restored our humanity by ending privation and misery for these animals.”

The HSUS thanks the House and the Senate for taking rapid action on this essential legislation this week, and particularly Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) for their leadership. The HSUS urges President Obama to sign the bill immediately, as funding for chimpanzee sanctuary care is slated to run out by the end of this week.

The CHIMP Act of 2000 placed a limit on total sanctuary spending, but no such limit for maintaining chimpanzees in laboratories. After 13 years of cumulative spending, NIH had nearly reached the original $30 million cap on funding chimpanzee sanctuary care. Sanctuaries provide higher welfare standards for chimpanzees at a lower cost to taxpayers than maintaining them in barren labs.

The NIH has announced its intention to retire all but 50 of the approximately 360 government-owned chimpanzees currently in laboratories to sanctuary, but needed the congressional fix to do so. The NIH has begun implementing most of the recommendations recently put forth by an independent expert advisory group on issues surrounding chimpanzee research and retirement. The “Working Group” was established to advise NIH on implementation of the findings of a 2011 Institute of Medicine study which determined that chimpanzees are unnecessary for most biomedical and behavioral research.

Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in response to a petition from The HSUS and other groups, has proposed protecting all chimpanzees, whether wild or in captivity, under the Endangered Species Act. While wild chimpanzees have long been recognized as endangered, existing regulations deprive captive chimpanzees in the U.S. of protection under the ESA. The current disparity in federal protection of wild and captive chimpanzees has facilitated exploitation of captive chimpanzees in the pet and entertainment trade and in invasive biomedical research, activities that undermine efforts to conserve the species in the wild. The proposed rule would rectify this disparity and require future use of captive chimpanzees to positively benefit the survival of the species in the wild.

“It’s been a remarkable year for chimps, with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of the Interior, and the Congress all taking distinct actions to help chimps and give them better lives in the future,” added Pacelle.


January 30, 2014
[source: Humane Society of the US]

Merck & Co, Inc., will stop conducting or financially supporting biomedical research on chimpanzees into the foreseeable future. The availability of alternatives has led to the policy change by one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. The Humane Society of the United States welcomes the company’s decision.

The announcement follows years of dialogue between The HSUS and Merck about concerns for the company’s use of chimpanzees in invasive experiments, and follows major recent actions by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Congress to facilitate the retirement of hundreds of government-owned chimps from laboratories to sanctuaries.

Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues for The HSUS said: “Merck’s new biomedical research policy will save chimpanzees from unnecessary and painful experiments. Merck’s decision, and that of several other pharmaceutical companies, sends a strong message that private industry is moving away from chimpanzee research as the government has.”

With this recent announcement, Merck joins a growing list of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk and Grifols, which have adopted policies against the use of chimpanzees in research.

  • Dec. 2011: Institute of Medicine study finds nearly all chimpanzee use for research is unnecessary.
  • June 11, 2013: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a proposed rule to list captive chimpanzees in the U.S. and wild chimpanzees as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed rule is expected to sharply curtail harmful use of chimpanzees in research, entertainment and the pet trade.
  • June 26, 2013: The National Institutes of Health announces policy changes to their support of chimpanzee research including the retirement of the vast majority of government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary, and a significant reduction in chimpanzee research grants. The agency’s announcement was the result of the 2011 Institute of Medicine study.
  • Nov. 27, 2013: President Obama signs S. 252 into law; includes legislation amending the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act, allowing the National Institutes of Health to spend money on sanctuary care and to begin fulfilling the agency’s pledge to move laboratory chimpanzees to sanctuaries.

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