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Tell the Director of the NIH to Retire All Government-Owned Chimpanzees to Sanctuary

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Originally Posted: January 23, 2013

Tell the Director of the NIH to Retire All Government-Owned Chimpanzees to Sanctuary

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FROM Physicians Committee for Reponsible Medicine (PCRM)


A group of experts on January 22, 2013, recommended to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that more than 300 government-owned chimpanzees be permanently retired from experimentation. That’s good. What is not so good is that the same NIH panel called for keeping 50 chimpanzees behind, so they can be available for ongoing experiments. That’s not acceptable ethically, and it is out of step with the scientific understanding that experiments on chimpanzees are simply not scientifically necessary.

Tell the director of the NIH to retire all 360 government-owned chimpanzees. Many of them, like Levi—pictured here—have suffered for decades in laboratories, and they all deserve to be retired.

Dr. Francis Collins
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
[email protected]
(301) 496-2433


Send comments to NIH (follow instructions carefully to be sure your views are reported):

Request for Information (RFI): Input on Report from Council of Councils Working Group on Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research"


Sign petition from In Defense of Animals (IDA):


While we hope to strengthen the Working Group’s recommendations before NIH implements them, the group did propose some significant changes to the federal government’s use of chimpanzees, such as:


TO: Dr. Collins

RE: Retire all NIH-owned chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary system

Dear Dr. Collins:

I am pleased that the National Institutes of Health is considering retiring more than 300 of its chimpanzees based on the recommendations of the Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research. I applaud you for taking this issue seriously and establishing the Working Group one year ago. However, I am writing today to ask that all NIH-owned chimpanzees be retired to the federal sanctuary system.

While the Working Group recommended that NIH maintain a colony of 50 chimpanzees for current research, neither the science nor the ethics is supportive of such a move. The 2011 Institute of Medicine report on chimpanzee experimentation could not point to a single area of human health research for which chimpanzees are essential. Further, behavioral and comparative genomics research can be conducted in the wild or at wildlife refuges and sanctuaries, a point reiterated by the Working Group.

I hope you will get NIH out of the chimpanzee experimentation business once and for all. Thank you for your consideration of this issue.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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