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UPDATE: Alamogordo Chimps Get Hiatus From Painful Experiments

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UPDATE: Chimps Get Reprieve, For Now
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says that nearly 200 chimpanzees at Alamogordo Primate Facility in NM will not move to a Texas research lab. Thanks to all Kinship Circle activists who requested permanent retirement for these chimps!

The pardon unfolded just hours after Institute of Medicine's (IOM) breakthrough report showed chimpanzee use as unnecessary for studies in HIV vaccine, hepatitis C antiviral drugs, etc. In Sep 2011, U.S. National Institutes of Health doled out $20 million for Texas Biomed to claim 176 chimps for experiments already underway on Katrina, Levi and 23 more chimpanzees at the San Antonio lab. Director Francis S. Collins, MD, says NIH will suspend relocation as it reevaluates. IOM findings call for strict reduction or elimination and also led to a freeze on grants for chimp research. Alamogordo chimpanzees are on hiatus for now. Still, millions more animals are a "resource" whose fate is tied to million-dollar grants for redundant research.
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Dr. Collins and Dr. Fineberg,

I applaud the National Institutes of Health for making the ethical decision to halt transfer of 186 chimpanzees from Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico to Southwest National Primate Research Center in Texas. I understand the chimps will reside in New Mexico, “pending an Institute of Medicine (IOM) in-depth analysis to reassess the scientific need for the continued use of chimpanzees to accelerate biomedical discoveries. During this time, the Alamogordo chimpanzees will not be used in invasive research.”

This is promising news, given that 1300 or so chimps are already warehoused in labs to undergo crash tests, radiation, heart transplants, drug experiments, and induced syphilis, HIV, hepatitis, cancer... The IOM may require two years to decide whether the Alamogordo chimps ultimately return to research or retire to sanctuary. I strongly urge the latter and hope that you give these animals a final reprieve.

The elder chimps spent most of their lives in seclusion, rotated from one invasive procedure to the next. “Breeders” watched their babies taken soon after birth. This is a very sad life for any animal. I am particularly upset to learn that biomedical researchers gripe about the financial liability of “surplus chimps” due to “over-breeding.” Even when chimps fail to produce clinical symptoms or data relevant to human diseases such as HIV/AIDS, they remain in labs — unable to form social bonds, parent, or express their natural joy, grief, humor, bravery and intelligence.

As biotechnology rapidly transforms — with breakthroughs in “high throughput” in vitro systems, bioinformatics, genomics, metabonomics...and so many more animal-free technologies — officials will need to retire animals from government subsidized projects. I am very optimistic about the NIH moratorium for Alamogordo chimpanzees and urge you to extend it into permanent retirement.

Thank you,

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Dr. Francis Collins, Director, NIH

9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
ph: 301-406-2433

Institute of Medicine (IOM)
National Academy of Sciences

500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
ph: 202-334-2352
fax: 202-334-1412

IOM President Dr. Harvey Fineberg
National Academy of Sciences Building, 849
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
ph: 202-334-3300
Judith A. Salerno, Executive Officer, IOM:
SOURCE: IOM/Leadership-Staff/Office- Program-Directory.aspx Staff.aspx

IOM Board on Health Sciences Policy
James Childress, Chair
Andrew Pope, Board Director
Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
ph: 202-334-1888
fax: 202-334-1329
Donna Randall, Administrative Assistant:

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