A recent feature published in The New York Times declared that the era of chimpanzees used as research subjects is officially over.
In 2015, The National Institute of Health (NIH) stated that it would cease support invasive biomedical research conducted on chimpanzees. The director of the NIH, Francis Collins, declared that the N.I.H. would fund no new biomedical research using chimps, which he described as “our closest relatives in the animal kingdom” deserving of “special consideration and respect.”
This move was thanks in large part to the efforts of medical network The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and The Humane Society of the United States — the evacuation of chimpanzees from laboratories began as the animals were retired and and moved to sanctuaries with the help of Project Chimps.
Removing chimpanzees from research facilities required a concerted effort that involved convincing scientific bodies that research conducted on these intelligent beings was not necessary nor relevant to human progress.
“The retirement of chimpanzees confirms two essential truths about using non-human animals for research into human diseases,” PCRM director of academic affairs John Pippin told VegNews. “First, though they are our closest genetic relatives, chimpanzees have failed as models for drug testing and research into HIV/AIDS, cancer, and many other areas. Second, there are viable and often superior non-animal replacements for animal research that are now getting more attention and implementation.” According to Pippin, modern research methods—including the iChip, known as “human on a chip” technology—will soon replace animal testing in biomedical research.
The Times predicts that in 50 years time there will be no more chimpanzees that need permanent homes outside of laboratories, and the sanctuaries that house them will eventually be out of business, by design.
“The era of biomedical research on chimpanzees in the United States is effectively over,” the news outlet said.