Ending Research on Captive Chimpanzees

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed comments to the National Institutes of Health urging the agency to adopt a proposal to severely restrict research on captive chimpanzees.


December 18, 2018

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After decades of scrutiny and pressure from animal rights groups, the general public and, increasingly, the international community, in 2010 the National Institute of Health (NIH) requisitioned a study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to examine the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded behavioral and biomedical research.

That report, issued one year later in December 2011, concluded that “most current biomedical use of chimpanzees is unnecessary” and suggested that future research on chimpanzees be limited. Following this IOM study, a working group was tasked with reviewing the proposals and advising on their implementation.

92% of drugs tested on animals fail to meet the standards for human use, and this rate is growing, not improving.

Food and Drug Administration

Another report was then published in January 2013. The NIH published this report as part of a “Request for Information” through which it sought public comment on the recommendations.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, together with pro bono legal counsel from the law firm of Proskauer Rose, filed comments to NIH urging the agency to adopt a proposal to severely restrict research on captive chimpanzees by defunding chimpanzee research and retiring chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary system — and to go even further by banning all federal support for chimpanzee research on the grounds that it is both ineffective and unethical.

In November 2015, the NIH announced that “we’ve reached a tipping point” in terms of public attitude and demand from researchers, and that the agency would no longer support the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research.


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