NIH Action

Voice Your Opinion on the Future of
Chimpanzees in Research

Over the last two years, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States has led a public debate over the use of chimpanzees in invasive medical research—and great progress has been made for federally owned chimpanzees living in laboratories.  Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) have publicly advocated for an end to invasive testing on chimpanzees and to the captive breeding of chimpanzees, and for moving all lab chimps to a sanctuary setting where they can enjoy socialization with other chimpanzees, enrichment, and relative freedom for the remainder of their lives.

Between now and March 23, 2013, you have an opportunity to share your thoughts on the future of chimpanzees in research. 


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Background Information

NIH has asked the public to weigh in during a public comment period that ends on March 23, 2013.  After that date, NIH will make a final decision on how to proceed with the recommendations.

In January 2013, the Council of Councils, an expert scientific advisory panel, recommended that NIH take the following actions:

Require an appropriate physical and social environment for chimpanzees in its care.

The panel recommended that chimpanzees In NIH's care are provided, among other requirements, sufficiently large, complex, multi-male, multi-female social groupings, ideally consisting of at least seven individuals, with at least 20 feet of vertical climbing space, outdoor access year round, materials for nesting, and much more.

Retire a majority of the federally owned chimpanzees remaining in laboratories to the federal sanctuary system.

This would amount to retiring more than 300 chimpanzees in addition to those that NIH already permanently retired over the past year and a half.

Take steps toward a future without chimpanzee research, including …

  • Research colony. While the panel suggested that NIH keep a colony of 50 chimpanzees for possible future research, it said these chimpanzees should receive the same high standards of care recommended for all federally owned chimpanzees.
  • Independent committee review. Any future proposals for research using chimpanzees should be reviewed by a truly independent and qualified oversight committee made up of individuals who are separate from NIH and the research grant process.
  • Stop breeding chimpanzees for research.
  • Encourage development of research approaches that do not use chimpanzees.


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The full report from the chimpanzee research working group can be found here: