The National Institutes of Health in the United States announced that it will be reducing the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and will be retiring most of them to sanctuaries with just a handful of them kept for future research.
NIH Director Dr Francis Collins revealed that around 300 chimps will be retired and will be placed in sanctuaries along with 150 of the animals that had been previously retired. The health agency will be keeping around 50 chimpanzees for future research but revealed that they will not be bred and will be used only in those studies that meet the funding criteria of the Institute of Medicine.
The decision comes after US Department of Health and Human Services recommended in January that the number of chimpanzees used should be reduced.
"Chimpanzees are very special animals ... We believe they deserve special consideration. Americans have benefited greatly from the chimpanzees' service to biomedical research, but new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary. The likeness of chimpanzees to humans has made them uniquely valuable for certain types of research, but also demands greater justification for their use", Collins said.