The US National Institutes of Health has finished transferring eligible chimpanzees to a sanctuary where they will spend the rest of their days, NPR reports.
The agency announced in 2015 that the last of the research chimps it owned would be retiring. Some 300 NIH chimps had already retired and moved to a Louisiana sanctuary following a 2011 Institute of Medicine report that found invasive medical experiments on chimps were harmful and no longer necessary with the development of new research approaches. At that time, NIH kept a small group of chimps for certain studies that met criteria established by the IOM report, but in 2015 Francis Collins, the NIH director at the time, announced the remaining chimps would also retire.
According to NPR, the last of the NIH chimps eligible to be transferred have moved to Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Louisiana. It adds that NIH officials say about 85 chimps cannot be transferred to the sanctuary due to health conditions like heart disease and diabetes or they are pair-bonded with an ailing chimp and cannot be separated.
The Humane Society of the United States' Kathleen Conlee tells NPR that some of these conditions should not prevent the chimps' transfer. The group and others have sued NIH over a set of chimps the agency has said needs to stay at a federal facility, according to NPR.