It was two years ago that most of the chimpanzees kept by the government for medical testing were “retired,” or released to animal sanctuaries to live out their lives minus the pokes and prods.
Now, the National Health Institute is calling the entire research program quits once and for all.
The highly controversial use of chimps in medical testing has been an issue with animals rights activists for decades.
Those activists are finally getting their wishes.
There are currently 50 primates owned by the NIH, and 82 others who are supported by NIH but owned by separate research facilities.
Those primates would be shipped to sanctuaries, as per the plan before, and the program would be phased out.
The director of the NIH, Francis Collins, said this:
“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.”
This is pretty amazing news.
According to I Fucking Love Science:
“Around 310 chimpanzees were retired in 2013, in line with a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Their report also set the bar extremely high for allowing chimpanzee experiments to take place, with only the most important, vital, time-dependent experiments permitted on the remaining 50. Most of the experiments the IOM accepted as serving the greatest benefit to humans involved research into infectious diseases.”
Earlier in 2015, the federal government granted primates the same protection rights as endangered species.
That ensured that the really invasive procedures were no longer allowed to be tested on chimps.
All the non-invasive studies, like behavioral health, were allowed to continue.
This is not a new concept in many places outside the U.S..
America, we may not be on time, but we get there eventually.