January 3, 2013
To the National Institutes of Health for retiring 106 research chimpanzees to a sanctuary.
According to a news story, “The National Institutes of Health has announced that they will move all 106 of the chimpanzees at the New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven, a federal chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La.”
The move will take place beginning in the new year and continue for several months as the animals will be moved in small groups.
Scientists the world over have learned that tests on one species do not determine how another species will be affected. Today, with advances in tissue engineering and robotics, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, metabonomics, systems biology, and in silico (computer-based) system, we have numerous alternatives to animal use. Animal testing can take months if not years at expenses ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to multi-millions of dollars, whereas computer modeling can take place instantaneously and at far lower costs, especially the cost to the animals and their suffering. In vitro tests involving human cell and tissue cultures are faster, cheaper, and more reliable than animal tests in many instances.
Take Action: Write a note to the director of the National Institutes of Health thanking his agency for recognizing the need to spare these chimpanzees further time in a medical laboratory. Urge him and his colleagues to continue to retire laboratory animals while they increase the use of non-animal testing methods.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892