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Old Chimps' Home

Some 300 research chimpanzees are heading into retirement, the New York Times reports. US President Barack Obama signed a bill Wednesday authorizing the use of funds to support the chimps in their retirement; the funds were originally allocated to pay for their keep in research labs. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins notes in a statement that the chimps will be moved to a federal sanctuary in Louisiana.

In June, NIH announced that the 300 chimps would be retired as many of the studied previously conducted on chimpanzees could be performed using new models and technologies. NIH said it would retain a colony of about 50 chimps for certain biomedical studies that meet criteria set by a 2011 Institute of Medicine report. Studies that appear to be qualified to continue include ones focused on behavior, genomics, and immunology.

"Americans have benefitted greatly from chimpanzees' service to biomedical research, but new scientific methods and technologies have rendered their use in research largely unnecessary," Collins says in a statement. "Consequently, it is now time to move most of the NIH-owned chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary system."