NIH Won't Breed Chimps for Research

Agency cites financial reasons; rights activists thrilled anyway
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2007 6:21 AM CDT
NIH Won't Breed Chimps for Research
A young chimpanzee carries some fruit.   (Associated Press)

The National Institutes of Health will stop breeding chimpanzees for use in medical testing, the agency announced yesterday. The practice is being abandoned for financial reasons, NIH says; because chimpanzees live upwards of 50 years in captivity, their lifelong upkeep costs $500,000.

Animal rights groups hailed the decision as a "huge step," even if it isn't being made for ethical reasons, and predicted that it would lead to an end of acquiring chimps by other means, as well. NIH stressed that it will continue to support the nearly 600 chimpanzees currently in its care, but said the agency is working toward elimination of chimps as test subjects. (More science stories.)

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