NEAVS and co-petitioners call on NIH to retire chimpanzees to sanctuary
Rulemaking Petition holds government accountable
BOSTON, Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Following the National Institutes of Health’s decision to retire 110 chimpanzees designated no longer available for research, co-petitioners of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Rulemaking Petition charge the decision falls short of the intent of the 2000 CHIMP Act mandating chimpanzees not needed be retired to sanctuary. NIH’s decision sends only 10 chimpanzees to federal sanctuary, while transferring 100 others to another lab.
According to the Rulemaking Petition filed by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, and co-petitioners, HHS/NIH must fulfill the intention of the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection Act (CHIMP Act). NIH’s decision is an example of interpreting the law in favor of labs – not chimpanzees. Labs are allowed to decide when chimpanzees should be retired, but have the financial interest of NIH grants to keep them. NIH’s plan is, according to NEAVS President Dr. Theodora Capaldo, “Close but no cigar.”
“We applaud that 110 chimpanzees will be safe from research, but NIH continues to grant laboratories significant funding to keep chimpanzees and deprive chimpanzees the comfort of sanctuary,” says Capaldo. “NIH has absolute control over the lives of chimpanzees and moving them from one lab to another is not responsible or reasonable. The chimpanzees should all be retired to Chimp Haven, the federal sanctuary with outstanding care.”
Chimpanzees turned out to be poor models for human diseases, but have remained in labs for decades. Despite the CHIMP Act, relatively few have been retired to federal sanctuary even though 80-90% now in labs are not in research; the Institute of Medicine determined chimpanzees to be “unnecessary” in nearly all areas of research; large numbers of chimpanzees in labs are elderly and/or unfit for research; and retiring chimpanzees to sanctuary is economically beneficial to taxpayers and life-changing for chimpanzees.
“With enforceable criteria for determining when chimpanzees are ‘not needed,’ chimpanzees deserving of and eligible for retirement will no longer languish in labs or be vulnerable to lab-favoring policies,” says Capaldo. “This is what our Rulemaking Petition seeks to achieve.”
The Rulemaking Petition suggests criteria to define when chimpanzees are not needed. If implemented, hundreds of chimpanzees would be retired to sanctuary.
Read the Rulemaking Petition at www.releasechimps.org/laws/chimp-act-rulemaking-petition.
NEAVS is a Boston-based, national animal advocacy organization.