…as New Iberia Chimpanzees Set Sail for Sanctuary

This article is a companion to: Sea Change Afloat for Chimpanzees in Laboratories

In September, the NIH announced its plan to move 110 chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center—10 to Chimp Haven, a lush 200-acre sanctuary, and 100 to Texas Biomedical Research Institute (TBRI), which experiments on thousands of nonhuman primates annually and uses NIH-funds for “educating the public” on the “importance of chimpanzees in biomedical research.”

The NIH declared that the animals going to TBRI would be “permanently ineligible” for experimentation; however, the agency admitted this was not legally binding. AWI and other animal protection organizations pressed the NIH to send all 110 chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary at Chimp Haven—a move that would also reduce care costs by an amount estimated to exceed $10 million.

On December 18, the NIH announced that all 110 chimpanzees would indeed go to Chimp Haven—half over the next several months, with the remainder after $2.3 million is raised privately for new buildings. Though AWI believes that all funds should be provided by the NIH, AWI applauds the agency’s quick reversal of course.