Created by on 3/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

In response to a request for information issued by a National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Council of Councils Working Group, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) provided input regarding recommendations for the future use of chimpanzees in federally-supported research. The Working Group’s solicitation followed the release of its report advising NIH on the implementation of the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The Working Group issued 28 recommendations addressing three principal themes: ethologically appropriate physical and social environments for chimpanzees; chimpanzee colony size and placement; and the review process for future proposals to use chimpanzees in NIH-supported research.

In its letter, FASEB encouraged NIH to allow for flexibility based on animal performance when determining the appropriate physical and social environments for research. FASEB also urged NIH to delay implementation of these recommendations until discrepancies regarding appropriate housing for research chimpanzees can be resolved. While the Working Group’s report recommended that approximately 50 chimpanzees be available for future research needs, FASEB suggested that a larger population of chimpanzees may be necessary for research purposes. If, at a later date, it is determined that a larger number of chimpanzees is not needed for research, they can subsequently be placed into retirement. Finally, FASEB suggested that chimpanzees chosen for retirement be retired in their current location due to the lack of space available in the federal sanctuary system and the high quality of care received in research laboratories. NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD is expected to make a decision on the recommendations soon.