NIH to Reduce Dependence on Chimpanzees in Research

June 27, 2013

The National Institutes of Health plans to sharply restrict its use of chimpanzees in biomedical research studies and retire most of the animals it now supports, adopting most of the recommendations emerging from a several-year study of the issue. Agency officials said they would retain (but not breed) several dozen chimpanzees for future research that meets rigorous guidelines set forth in a 2010 study by the Institute of Medicine. “Americans have benefited greatly from the chimpanzees’ service to biomedical research, but new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary,” Francis S. Collins, the NIH director, said in a statement. “Their likeness to humans has made them uniquely valuable for certain types of research, but also demands greater justification for their use. After extensive consideration with the expert guidance of many, I am confident that greatly reducing their use in biomedical research is scientifically sound and the right thing to do.”

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