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NIH refuses to send ‘retired’ lab chimps to Chimp Haven sanctuary, as promised

Prof. Lori Gruen, a frequent visitor to Chimp Haven, was distressed by the decision, stating that Chimp Haven had successfully cared for chimpanzees with all of the health ailments that these 44 chimpanzees have.

JAMES GORMAN: ‘In 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) decided to retire all the chimpanzees it owned. Since then, animal welfare groups have been pushing for quicker action, even as some of the facilities that once conducted experiments have urged caution, arguing that some chimps are too old and sick to be moved. The N.I.H. announced that an independent panel of veterinarians had determined that the 44 chimpanzees remaining at the Alamogordo Primate Facility, or A.P.F., in New Mexico were too ill to move, as the facility had contended. In a statement, Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the N.I.H., said that the “N.I.H. expects that these 44 chimpanzees will live out the remainder of their lives at A.P.F. to ensure their safety and welfare”…

Rana Smith, the president of Chimp Haven, expressed disappointment at the decision… she said, “we firmly believe that sanctuary life is the best place for chimpanzees”… Laura Bonar, chief program and policy officer for Animal Protection of New Mexico, said the panel seemed to have “rubber-stamped” the wishes of the Alamogordo facility. “The fact that they found all 44 of them should not go is unacceptable,” she said… The Alamogordo facility…  does not have the more open areas, some of them forested, of Chimp Haven, which grant many of the chimpanzees there a greater degree of freedom.

Lori Gruen, a professor of philosophy at Wesleyan who is deeply involved in animal welfare issues and is a frequent visitor to Chimp Haven, was distressed by the decision. She wrote in an email that Chimp Haven had “successfully cared for chimpanzees with all of the health ailments that these 44 chimpanzees have.” The panel’s decision appears to be the end of the process, but Ms. Bonar encouraged the public to make their feelings known. “I think people should talk to their members of Congress,” she said. “These chimpanzees are supported by taxpayer dollars”.’  SOURCE…

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