The National Institutes of Health has suspended all new grants for experiments on chimpanzees and confirmed that the chimpanzees residing at a nonresearch facility in Alamogordo, N.M., will stay where they are for now instead of being transferred to a laboratory. This announcement came just a few hours after the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report finding that chimpanzees are not needed to develop an HIV vaccine, hepatitis C antiviral drugs, or treatments for a wide range of other human illnesses.
Over the past two years, PCRM has worked to keep the nearly 200 chimpanzees at Alamogordo permanently out of Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, in addition to our work to support passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would permanently end invasive experiments on all chimpanzees.
In September, NIH approved a nearly $20 million grant for Texas Biomed to transfer and experiment on the chimpanzees residing in Alamogordo—the very chimpanzees NIH promised not to move until after the IOM report was released. These 176 chimpanzees would have joined Katrina, Levi, and 23 other chimpanzees already transferred to the San Antonio facility, and all of them would have been subject to invasive experiments.
NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., announced that the agency is halting the transfer of these chimpanzees until it can assess the necessity of the use of chimpanzees in the experiments Texas Biomed planned to use them in. The assessment will be based on the recommendations outlined in IOM’s new report, which suggests severely limiting the use of chimpanzees in biomedical experiments.
This announcement means the Alamogordo chimpanzees will be spared experiments for at least a few months, but the only way to protect them and ensure that they spend the rest of their lives in sanctuaries is to pass the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act to end all invasive chimpanzee experiments.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.