November 27, 2013.
The President signed Senate Bill 252 today, clearing a roadblock to funding sanctuary retirement for federally owned chimpanzees. NAPSA is grateful that Congress and the President have taken action on the CHIMP Act in recent weeks. This action ensures that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is authorized through 2018 to meet its continued obligation to support permanent sanctuary care for chimpanzees retired from NIH-funded biomedical research. Fixing the so-called “cap” that threatened to cut off funds to Chimp Haven (the national sanctuary and a founding member of NAPSA) allows the NIH to shift funds that are spent on keeping federal chimpanzees in research laboratories to the care of these chimpanzees in sanctuaries. The NIH can now fulfill its promise to retire over 300 chimpanzees to sanctuary.
Ensuring support for sanctuary care of chimpanzees who have been used in NIH-funded biomedical research is an excellent step forward. However, much work remains to be done to ensure that every single federal chimpanzee is given the opportunity to retire with dignity under the care of a professional sanctuary. Public and private investment in the expansion of established sanctuaries to accommodate the federal chimpanzees--as well as the hundreds of chimpanzees still in private laboratories--is paramount so that no chimpanzee has to spend their final years languishing in a laboratory cage. NAPSA is ready and willing to work with the NIH to provide lifetime care for the chimpanzees in modern sanctuaries where the chimps can enjoy more naturalistic conditions than typically found in laboratories.