Feds Halt New Tests on Aging Lab Chimps

New Mexico chimps win reprieve
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2011 3:22 AM CST
The chimps' current home is the Alamogordo Primate Facility at Holloman Air Force Base, NM.   (AP Photo/Alamogordo Primate Facility)
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(Newser) – Some 186 elderly chimpanzees formerly used in invasive research have been given a temporary reprieve from more experiments. The National Institutes of Health, which had planned to transfer the chimps from their home at an NIH facility in New Mexico to a Texas research facility, has announced that the chimps will be allowed to remain in retirement while it carries out a two-year review of the need to use them in biomedical research, reports CNN.

Opponents of the transfer—including former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson—had argued that using the chimps for invasive research again would violate animal welfare laws because of their age and because of their ill health, caused by earlier experiments. The NIH argued that the chimps were needed for research into a hepatitis C vaccine. A spokesman for Richardson says he was notified on Dec. 31, his last day in office, that the chimps would not be moved.

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