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WIN! Freed From Research - Over 100 Chimps At New Iberia


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UPDATE: All Federally Owned Chimpanzees Head To Sanctuary

12/18/12 - New Iberia Primate Center in Louisiana is among labs Kinship Circle targeted for use of chimpanzees as disease models to generate data for prevention, vaccines or drugs related to humans. In September 2012, National Institutes of Health first relayed plans to classify its New Iberia chimps as ineligible for biomedical research, on the heels of a landmark Institute of Medicine study that concluded use of chimpanzees is unwarranted in invasive medical experimentation. Chimp research grants froze as NIH evaluated findings that called for stern limits and stipulated chimp use as a final option only when research is not viable in other human or nonhuman animals.

For some 100 chimps in New Iberia labs, the good-news outcome is retirement to Chimp Haven in Keithville, LA. Months earlier, only 10 were slated for sanctuary, with the rest destined to "retire" to Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a lab infamous for violations of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act.

NIH Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, said, "New technologies have reduced the need for these animals’ continued use in research." The chimp transfer will span 15 months, during which time Chimp Haven raises $2.3 million to erect more enclosures. The sanctuary already cares for 106 federally owned chimpanzees released from research.

Kinship Circle will persist in pleas to free all chimpanzees and animals from lives of misery inside labs and fight for faster development of animal-free technologies more relevant to human health. U.S. citizens can ask their federal Rep and Senators to cosponsor the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (H.R. 1513/S. 810) to ban research on great apes while promoting animal welfare, medical progress and economic prudence. Passage of this bill would set precedent as legal immunity from research for an entire animal species.

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Dr. Thomas J. Rowell, Director
New Iberia Primate Center
4401 West Admiral Doyle Drive
New Iberia, LA 70560
ph: 337-482-0225, fax: 337-373-0057


I am confused as to why chimpanzees still serve as HIV disease models for humans at your research facility. Primate studies clearly represent a dead end for HIV prevention, vaccines or drugs relevant to humans. I would greatly appreciate detailed information about the individuals confined at your laboratory and the conditions of their environment.

Isolation of the AIDS virus and the mechanism through which it is transmitted have already been established in studies that did not involve animals. A chimpanzee’s immune system encounters the virus in a different manner than a human’s immune network. As research models, these animals don’t contract AIDS or develop its clinical symptoms.

They do, however, endure seclusion in sterile biocontainment facilities, unable to navigate the treetops or trail a companion into the undergrowth. These outgoing creatures are drafted into lives of solitude. At best, they subsist with minimal social interaction as caged specimens inside sunless rooms.

Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall claims that primates sustain close family ties and experience joy, grief, fear and hope. To the researchers who reinvent them to suffer physical and psychological anguish — their worth is measured in terms of the data drawn from their blood.

I am dismayed that your primate experiments squander tax dollars, time and energy when viable alternative technologies combined with epidemiological and clinical human trials produce results more applicable to human health.

I urge you to replace antiquated animal tests with humane research tools. In the meantime, I look forward to your response to my inquiry regarding the chimpanzees' names, cage sizes, bedding provisions, enrichment items and tasks, and socialization methods. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


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Dr. Thomas J. Rowell, Director
New Iberia Primate Center
4401 West Admiral Doyle Drive
New Iberia, LA 70560
ph: 337-482-0225, fax: 337-373-0057

Dr. Stuart Zola, Director
Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center
954 Gatewood Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
ph: 404-727-7707

Dr. Michale Keeling, Director
MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
Department of Veterinary Sciences
Science Park, Rt. 2
Box 151-B1
Bastrop, TX 78602

Dr. John VandenBerg, Director
Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
P.O. Box 760549
San Antonio, TX 78245-0549
spacer Dr. Suzette Tardif, Associate Director
ph: 210-258-9885, fax: 210-258-9883

Dr. Thomas Rice
Manager, Behavioral Enrichment Dept.
The Coulston Foundation
1300 Lavelle Road
Alamogordo, NM 88310

Dr. Joseph M. Erwin
Division of Neurobiology, Behavior, Genetics
9600 Medical Center Drive, Suite 200
Rockville, MD 20850-3336
ph: 301-251-0633, fax: 301-251-1260

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