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Victory! NIH Retires More than 100 Chimpanzees to Sanctuary
December 18, 2012

This could be the hardest-earned “retirement” in history. The National Institutes of Health announced today that it will retire more than 100 of its chimpanzees used in experiments at New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana to Chimp Haven sanctuary. Just a few months ago, only 10 of the chimpanzees were scheduled to go to the Louisiana sanctuary. More than 100 were going to “retire” at a laboratory notorious for Animal Welfare Act violations. My colleagues Elizabeth Kucinich, John Pippin, M.D., and others at PCRM deserve credit for this sea change.

Back in September, many rejoiced when NIH announced its plan to make its New Iberia chimpanzees ineligible for research. PCRM denounced it, because more than 100 of the chimpanzees were scheduled to be moved to Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a laboratory in San Antonio that was fined more than $25,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the Animal Welfare Act.

“Making the chimpanzees ineligible for experimentation is a start, but it makes no sense to send them to a controversial research lab,” said Dr. Pippin, PCRM’s director of academic affairs. We took this message to the media. And I took it to you—our members and supporters—who really got the word out.

PCRM government affairs director Elizabeth Kucinich and PCRM research policy specialist Noelle Callahan flew to Louisiana, they worked Capitol Hill, and they helped bring other organizations back to the table to make sure that all of the chimpanzees—not just a few of them—were permanently retired to sanctuary.

Now, NIH will transfer all of its New Iberia chimpanzees to Chimp Haven over the next 12-15 months.

PCRM staff, members, and supporters have worked hard to replace cruel chimpanzee experiments with new nonanimal technologies that better help human health.

Last year, an Institute of Medicine committee charged with examining the necessity of chimpanzee experimentation could not find a single area of health research for which the animals are essential. At its first hearing, Dr. Pippin was asked by the Institute of Medicine panel to testify on the use of human cells and other high-tech alternatives to replace chimpanzees in medical research.

Thanks to you—and the entire PCRM staff—it will be a better new year for NIH’s New Iberia chimpanzees. And in 2013, we resolve to keep fighting for the hundreds of chimpanzees who remain in laboratories for use in invasive research in the United States.


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