Retire Lab Chimps to Sanctuaries


Target: National Health Institutes Director Francis S. Collins

Goal: Release lab chimps to sanctuaries.

In June 2013, officials from the National Health Institutes (NHI) announced that it would be retiring its lab chimps and sending them to sanctuaries. However, one year later, these animals still have not been freed. In fact, many of these chimps have died while waiting to go into retirement. Director Francis S. Collins said that it was the agency’s “responsibility” to make sure these chimps are taken care of, but little action has been taken to move the chimps. Furthermore, the agency stated that some of the chimps will need to stay in case critical research needed to be done in the future. Tell the director that these chimps need to be moved out of research facilities immediately.

Many lab chimps are infected with HIV or hepatitis to test how the illnesses affects their bodies. These chimps have lived in cages their entire lives and are suffering due to human experiments. With the recent cases involving giving chimps human rights, the public has turned their attention on whether it is humane to keep apes in cages. After all, their intelligence is very similar to humans and apes are capable of learning and feeling emotions.

So why hasn’t NHI released these chimps? So far only six of the 310 lab chimps have been released to a sanctuary. The rest are waiting and unfortunately more than a dozen have died. Lab chimps haven’t been moved out of research facilities because there aren’t enough sanctuaries in the United States. Building such a sanctuary requires Congress’ approval and some research facilities want to keep at least 50 chimps in case future research needs to be conducted. NHI public affairs specialist Amanda Fine told CNN that selecting these chimps for future research required several years.

These chimps do not have several more years. They are aging, dying, and need to be taken to sanctuaries. They deserve to live in their natural habitat, where they can climb around in trees, feel grass under their feet, and enjoy the rest of their lives. Sign this petition and tell Director Francis S. Collins to release these research chimps to sanctuaries immediately.


Dear Director Francis S. Collins,

In June 2013, you told the public that the National Health Institutes would release research chimps to sanctuaries because this was a humane thing to do. You’ve realized that many of these chimps are suffering and dying, which I commend. However, this action only resulted in the retirement of six chimps out of the 310 that were in research facilities. This is a staggeringly low number.

If these chimps could talk, they would tell you how much pain and suffering they’ve endured at the hands of humans. These chimps contribute very little to researchers now and I urge you to do everything possible to return them to a natural habitat. Please retire these chimps before any more of them pass away.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Rennet Stowe via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. It is MORALLY & ETHICALLY REPREHENSIBLE to stubbornly refuse to transition to the many cruelty-free and far more effective alternatives so readily available to the research community today! GET EVOLVED NIH! FREE THESE CHIMPS- YOU OWE THEM!

  2. Keep your promises. Do the ethical thing and let the chimps live at a sanctuary. Start using non- animal alternatives, they are humane and cheaper.

  3. Robert Pound says:


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