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U.S. Government To Retire Its Research Chimps

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Two-month-old chimpanzee Liwali is carried by her mother Lisa while inspecting Christmas gift-wrapped food treats and other tasty decorations left inside the exhibit in Sydney on December 9, 2014. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

The National Institutes of Health is retiring all of its research chimpanzees. NIH retired most of its chimps two years ago, but kept 50 on hand in case they were needed for important research, as in the case of a public health emergency.

Since 2013, though, only one request has been submitted to do research with the chimpanzees, and even that request was eventually withdrawn. Also during that time, the animals have received endangered species protection from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now, as soon as space can be found, all of the NIH’s remaining research chimpanzees will be moved to sanctuaries, to live out the rest of their days.

Here & Now’s Indira Lakshmanan talks with Vicki Croke of WBUR’s The Wild Life about the NIH’s decision to end its chimp program, and what that means for the animals and for research.

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