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NIH chimps: Texas lab is not a sanctuary

As a physician who provided testimony for the US Institute of Medicine report that found chimpanzee experiments to be scientifically unnecessary, I am thrilled that the National Institutes of Health has declared some 110 of its chimps ineligible for research (Nature 491, 18; 2012).

But sending any of these chimps to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, even for the short term, is no retirement. Laboratories are designed to facilitate research, not to provide high-quality, long-term care for chimps, which are cognitively, socially and emotionally complex animals.

Furthermore, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute was fined more than US$25,000 by the US Department of Agriculture in December 2011 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act after three animals escaped from their cages (see

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Correspondence to John Pippin.

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Pippin, J. NIH chimps: Texas lab is not a sanctuary. Nature 491, 672 (2012).

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