long awaited retirement

The National Institute of Health is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world and is comprised of almost 30 centers. Wednesday, June 26, NIH announced that they would be retiring 310 government owned chimpanzees.

Photo from NIH
Photo from NIH

Most research centers around the world have already agreed that chimpanzee testing poses more problems than it solves. It tends to be a pretty controversial subject and hasn’t brought on too many mind-blowing cures in the past few years. In 2011 NIH even declared that using chimpanzees for invasive medical research can not be justified. So then why did it take them an additional 2 years to release the chimps?

Photo from timparkinson on Flickr
Photo from timparkinson on Flickr

Now they’ve decided that these intelligent animals “deserve special respect” and a new home. We can only hope that the government will provide aide to the already full sanctuaries that will have to now house the soon-to-be homeless 310 individuals. Now it’s true that NIH won’t be pushing them out onto the doorstep all at once, but it takes more than a few months of planning to devise housing for these chimps.

These aren’t just normal chimps either. Most likely they will have medical complications, and almost certainly psychological issues and will create a whole new set of problems for the multiple rescues that will have to house them.

Former NIH chimp at Chimp Haven, photo from CBS News
Former NIH chimp at Chimp Haven, photo from CBS News

But NIH isn’t quite relinquishing all of their chimps. They seem to have a hoarder like grip on the primates, stating that they need to keep 50 chimpanzees as a retainer, in case of some crucial medical study that they need a few chimpanzees for.

Does anyone else think its a little fishy that NIH announced this decision just two weeks after Fish and Wildlife wanted to name all chimps endangered? Seems like they jumped on that before it could be forced upon them.

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