BOSTON, MA—(December 15, 2011)—The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) today released results of their nine-month long study, called for by the NIH, to investigate the current and future need for chimpanzees in research. The IOM concluded that ‘…most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary.’ The only exception was their “inconclusive” decision (a 5-5 split) regarding a “narrow area” of hep C vaccine work.
Upon reading the report, Theodora Capaldo, EdD, president of NEAVS and its national campaign, Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories, stated, “This pivotal report is the first step toward ending all chimpanzee research in U.S. laboratories. The science guided the IOM to its conclusion that they are ‘not necessary’—a promising outcome for chimpanzees and better science for humans.”
Jarrod Bailey, PhD, geneticist and NEAVS/Project R&R Science Director noted,
“The IOM’s conclusions show understanding of the scientific and factual testimony provided. While the committee did not go far enough to endorse an ‘outright ban,’ it noted that, ‘the present trajectory of scientific research indicates a decreasing need for the use of chimpanzees.’ And, that ‘Past Use Fails to Predict Future Necessity.’ This is all encouraging and truly the beginning of the end of chimpanzee use.”
NEAVS/Project R&R believes that if the IOM’s recommended and restrictive criteria for proposals for new chimpanzee research are scrupulously applied, they will in fact end all chimpanzee use. Said Bailey, “It cannot be demonstrated that any chimpanzee research would meet all of these criteria. This criteria will de facto be an end to all invasive chimpanzee research.”
NEAVS/Project R&R’s team of chimpanzee experts includes Gloria Grow, Fauna Sanctuary founder. Grow, appointed co-chair of Project R&R, listened while the IOM webcast announced its results. When the webcast ended, she spoke about Tom, a Fauna chimpanzee who is named Project R&R’s Ambassador. Grow shared,
“I have always felt that the chimps who have died are watching over the others. Now, I believe that even more. I am so glad this news came this month—this very good news that is the beginning of the end and hope for the future of all those still in labs, including so many of our chimps’ family members. It is fitting that this falls at the anniversary time of Tom’s passing two years ago in December. I am happy for Tom and for all who will one day soon see justice done.” She added, “I am going to go now and tell the chimps.”
NEAVS/Project R&R deems the IOM report—along with other scientific, public and legislator support—as instrumental to passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (H.R.1513/S.810), the bill now before Congress that will end the use of all great apes in invasive research and retire federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuary. Meanwhile, Tom remains forever close to us as the symbol of our mission.