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NIH Cuts the Monkey Business

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According to Scientific American, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will retire 110 government-owned chimpanzees and stop funding for The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center, a research lab specializing in the breeding, management, and importation of primates.

Last year, Wired Science reported on several troubling events at the lab, including accusations of illegally breeding chimps as well as several violations of the Animal Welfare Act, uncovered during a nine-month investigation by the Humance Society of the United States (HSUS).

“NIH’s announcement is a significant step forward in our goal toward ending invasive experiments on chimpanzees and facilitating the move of the current population of chimps in laboratories to reputable sanctuaries,” said HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. “With the Institute of Medicine finding last year that the use of chimps in invasive experiments is ‘largely unnecessary,’ we look forward to working with NIH and the Congress to develop a workable plan to move all of the government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries in the years ahead.” 

The move puts the NIH on track to end the practice of experimental medical research on chimpanzees. “This is a significant step in winding down NIH’s investment in chimpanzee research based on the way science has evolved and our great sensitivity to the special nature of these remarkable animals, our closest relatives,” NIH director Francis Collins told the Washington Post.

You can read more at Wired Science

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Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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