NIH Director Accepts Recommendations to Retire Research Chimpanzees

After a long public debate and years of advocacy, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) heralded the decision today by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to accept the recommendation of an expert scientific advisory panel to retire nearly all federally owned medical research chimpanzees.

The panel, referred to as the Council of Councils working group, was asked by Dr. Collins to make recommendations for implementing a set of principles and criteria established by the National Science Foundation’s Institute of Medicine in a December 2011 report and adopted by NIH. 

The working group reported on its recommendations in January of this year, calling for:

  • Vastly improved living conditions for all federally owned chimpanzees;
  • Retirement to the federal sanctuary system of all but 50 federally owned chimpanzees;
  • Confirmation of the end of breeding chimpanzees for research; and the
  • Development of research approaches that do not use chimpanzees. 

A public comment period followed.  More than 3,000 JGI members submitted their support for the recommendations along with tens of thousands from other organizations.

"It is exciting news that most of the National Institutes of Health chimpanzees will finally be retired from medical research," said Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.  "We must work together to make sure this happens as quickly as possible while remembering the 50 that remain."

Read the announcement from Dr. Collins here.

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