WASHINGTON, Louisiana (BRPROUD) – U.S. Senator John Kennedy sent a letter to Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) criticizing the institute’s failure to keep chimpanzees in labs instead of transferring them to Chimp Haven in Louisiana.
“I see no valid reason for the NIH to continue housing retired chimpanzees in the lab
facilities where the needs of chimpanzees are not being met and the cost to taxpayers is
increase, âKennedy wrote in his letter. âAPF and KCCMR chimpanzees will thrive in Chimp Haven while saving taxpayer dollars. “
According to Kennedy’s letter, The NIH broke federal law by keeping chimpanzees in labs in New Mexico and Texas. The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act (CHIMP Act) requires that all federally owned chimpanzees not needed for research be sent to the sanctuary. The NIH pledged to send government-owned chimpanzees to Louisiana in 2015.
“I am increasingly frustrated by the NIH’s refusal to fulfill its obligations and to send the remaining government-owned chimpanzees detained to the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) in New Mexico and the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research. in Texas at Chimp Haven, âKennedy mentioned.
Kennedy also said that by keeping animals, The NIH is spending up to five times as much as it takes to house them compared to the shelter, all out of taxpayer dollars.
âIt appears the NIH is blocking Congress and not prioritizing the welfare of these chimps and the wishes of taxpayers,â Kennedy said. âThe extraordinary conflict of interest and the lack of transparency are of deep concern. ”
Elisabeth Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection New Mexico, said the NIH ignored federal law, betrayed taxpayers and Congress, and forgot animals.
âAfter decades of trauma and suffering in biomedical research, these chimps will thrive at Chimp Haven,â Jennings said.
The chimps at the sanctuary can experience large social groups and a natural environment that stimulates their minds and helps them recover from the trauma resulting from their time in the labs.
âNot only is Chimp Haven much better suited to meet the complex needs of chimpanzees previously used in biomedical research, the cost of care is considerably cheaper,â Kennedy said.
The chimpanzee paradise is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world. It is a non-profit organization that is home to more than 300 chimpanzees retired from laboratory research and is located in Keithville, Louisiana.