The U.S. government has announced it will be banning the use of chimpanzees in medical research.
Most chimps were ‘retired’ to sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives two years ago, by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), IFLScience reported.
An Institute of Medicine report in 2013 recommended the reduction in the use of chimps in studies, and led to only the most important, time-dependent experiments being allowed, leaving 50 chimpanzees still in action.
Now those remaining ones will also be retired.
Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, told Nature:
I think this is the natural next step of what has been a very thoughtful five-year process of trying to come to terms with the benefits and risks of trying to perform research with these very special animals. We reached a point where in that five years the need for research has essentially shrunk to zero.
Chimpanzees have traditionally been used in experiments because of their similarity to humans, both genetically and physiologically.
But it’s also due to this that people have argued it’s cruel and unethical to harm them in experiments.