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Director, NIH: Release the Rockville 15 to a chimpanzee sanctuary

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Originally Posted: July 4, 2012

Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH): Release the Rockville 15 to a chimpanzee sanctuary

FROM Elizabeth Kucinich, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)


Tell the National Institutes of Health to intervene on behalf of 15 young chimpanzees used at BIOQUAL, Inc., in Rockville, Md., and release them to a sanctuary.

Sign an online petition (copy/paste URL into your browser):

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Dr. Francis Collins, Director,
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
[email protected] 


Recently I visited a group of fifteen chimpanzees in a laboratory in Rockville, Md., who are between two and seven years old and have been used in invasive experiments. I was shocked to see these youngsters in a laboratory away from their mothers, housed in pairs, some in solitary confinement, exhibiting a number of abnormal behaviors. Sadly it gets worse. Not only were these experiments unnecessary, but now Sarah, Dexter and their nine friends have been transferred to another laboratory in Louisiana. A laboratory with an abysmal record of animal care, and the remaining four other chimpanzees could be moved there any day.

Please share the spirit of freedom today by signing this petition to ask the National Institutes of Health to intervene on their behalf and have them transferred to a sanctuary.

The director described it as a nursery. A nursery? The youngsters were housed in pairs. A pair of two year olds kept each other company. Their mothers were not present. The seven year olds were housed alone in a building where they would never able to go outside, breathe fresh air or see the sun, let alone climb trees, be part of a family and be chimpanzees the way nature intended. In a chilling nod to institutionalization, all chimpanzees had been taught to extend a limb to be injected.

We request that you use the considerable influence of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to ensure that the fifteen young chimpanzees used at BIOQUAL, Inc., in Rockville, Md., are released to a sanctuary.

We request the 11 chimpanzees who were leased by NIH and housed a BIOQUAL until recently to be transferred from New Iberia Research Center, Louisiana, to Sanctuary and the four remaining chimpanzees, being housed at BIOQUAL, Inc, be transferred directly to sanctuary.

These chimpanzees, collectively known as the Rockville 15, range in age from just 2 to 7 years old and were likely born in violation of NIH's own 1995 breeding moratorium.

Considering that they are unnecessary for human health research, as detailed in the recent Institute of Medicine report, they should be released to sanctuary where it is cheaper for you to house them, and a much better environment for these chimpanzees to live.

They must not live out their days in a laboratory that has repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act.

New Iberia is currently under investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture for an incident in which the decomposing bodies of three monkeys were found trapped in a metal chute. In addition, between 2000 and 2008, 14 infant chimpanzees died as a result of traumatic injury at New Iberia.

We ask you to please ensure that the Rockville 15 are retired to a sanctuary immediately.  

Thank you for everything you do for animals!