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The Physicians Committee



New Mexico Governor Speaks Out for Chimpanzees

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

PCRM experts joined forces with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Nov. 18 to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate and stop the transfer of the Alamogordo chimpanzees. At the Hall of the States in Washington, D.C., Richardson announced that he had filed a legal complaint with the USDA to halt the transfer of the 186 chimpanzees.

Standing in front of a large picture of Flo, Richardson explained that the majority of the chimpanzees are now elderly and suffer from heart disease and other illnesses.

“I believe that moving sick and frail chimpanzees—like Flo, Guy, and Owen—is just plain cruel,” said Richardson.

Richardson was joined by PCRM director of research policy Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., and director of public affairs Elizabeth Kucinich.

A History of the Alamogordo Chimpanzees

1950s

U.S. Air Force establishes colony of chimpanzees at Holloman Air Force Base made up of 65 young chimpanzees captured in Africa.

Ham the chimp used in NASA research

1961

Ham and Enos are trained for space flights using electric shocks.

1964

Eight chimpanzees have electrodes surgically implanted into their skulls, sternums, and vertebrae.

1970

The Air Force begins leasing the chimpanzees to laboratories.

1972

Toxicologist Frederick Coulston, Ph.D., leases the chimpanzees.

1980

At Coulston’s private laboratory—the White Sands Research Center—chimpanzees are used for toxicity testing and infectious disease research.

1993

Three Coulston chimpanzees, Robert, James, and Raymond, die of hyperthermia when their unmonitored enclosures reach 150 degrees.

1995

U.S. Department of Agriculture documents Coulston’s Animal Welfare Act violations and charges the laboratory with the deaths of Robert, James, and Raymond.

1997

Jello—who was young and healthy—dies when food was not properly withheld prior to anesthesia.
Echo, an infant, dies because of improper treatment for shock following an attack by another chimpanzee.
Dysentery takes the lives of several other chimpanzees.

Alamogordo chimps

1998

USDA charges Coulston with the deaths of Jello and Echo.
USDA cites Coulston twice in for failing to provide adequate veterinary care.
Holly, Terrance, and Muffin die from the effects of an experimental drug.

1999

USDA cites Coulston for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s psychological well-being requirements.
Coulston is charged for the deaths of Terrance, Muffin, and Holly.
Coulston violates a USDA order to stop breeding chimpanzees.
Eason dies during an experimental spine surgery.

2000

Leonard dies during the same surgery.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) stops funding the Coulston Foundation.
Ownership of 288 chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation is transferred to NIH. Charles River Laboratories receives a $42.8 million, 10-year contract to operate the laboratory on Holloman Air Force Base, which does not allow the chimpanzees to be used in biomedical research.

2001

Donna is found dead after carrying a dead fetus in her womb for two months.
Gina dies when locked in an outdoor enclosure and exposed to the desert heat.

2001-2010

The surviving chimpanzees remain at Alamogordo where invasive experimentation is banned.

2010

NIH decides to move the nearly 200 chimpanzees to Southwest, which has a long history of animal abuse.
July 1: NIH moves 14 chimpanzees from Alamogordo to Southwest by truck.



 

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