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US medical research chimps just got early retirement

Most of the things we talk about here at Kitguru are tech related, but a lot of our modern advancements couldn’t have come without the (forced) cooperation of our primate cousins, the chimpanzees. As time has gone on, their usefulness and the morality of experimenting on them has led to a better look at whether it’s a necessary practice, so it’s with a sad smile we can now report that the majority of chimpanzees used in US medical research are being retired.

This comes as part of the US National Institute of Health (NIH) announcement that it will no longer be using the chimps for experiments or ongoing research. 50 will remain in-case of emergency medical situations – though even they will only be kept on standby for a further five years, at which point they too will most likely be retired.

This documentary is heart-wrenchingly sad and inspiring at the same time. Give it a shot if you’ve not seen it. 

As Wired reports, the decision for a crackdown on chimp experiments isn’t that surprising in the contemporary moral climate; especially following on from the 2011 Institute of Medicine report that suggested there was no need to use chimps for experiments, except in the case of Hepatitis C vaccine research.

The director of the US NIH said of the news that it was due to the closeness to humans genetically, that the chimpanzee had been an important part of medical research. However, also thanks to that closeness, it has become far harder to justify their use.

KitGuru Says: Here’s saluting you chimps. If you don’t rise up and murder us all, we’d appreciate it. 

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