NEAVS' Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories is happy to welcome 110 chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) to their forever home at Chimp Haven sanctuary! In December 2012 NIH agreed to retire them, and about one year ago NIH announced it would retire nearly 90% of all federally owned chimpanzees.
NEAVS/Project R&R has been closely involved in the fate of the NIRC chimps from the beginning, advocating for sanctuary for all of them, and was the first to step up with a matching grant of $100,000 to Chimp Haven to help cover costs for needed construction to welcome the chimps.
With the NIRC chimps now safe, we look forward to NIH's timeline of who is next and when the transfer of all retired chimpanzees will be accomplished. Thank you to everyone helping us to get them all out!
After a year and a half of intense planning, fundraising and traveling, all 110 federally owned chimpanzees formerly used in research at the New Iberia Research Center have been retired to Chimp Haven.
Chimp Haven President and CEO Cathy Willis Spraetz said, “We are thrilled that this great day has finally arrived. Many organizations and individuals have worked tirelessly to ensure these chimpanzees would have a new beginning in a sanctuary environment. Our dreams have finally been realized for these amazing animals.”
The campaign to bring the chimpanzees, ranging from 1 to 50 years of age, from the southern Louisiana laboratory to Chimp Haven began in Nov. 2012 when the National Institutes of Health determined that they be retired. Initially, plans were made to only send 10 to the northwest Louisiana sanctuary and the remainder to a laboratory in Texas.
Spraetz said, “When we learned that all of the chimpanzees would not be retired to Chimp Haven, we felt they were being robbed of what was promised to them in the CHIMP Act, signed into law in 2000 and reauthorized in 2013. It was necessary to devise a plan that would offer a safe and caring atmosphere, one where these chimpanzees can live the rest of their lives in large social groups and determine on their own how they will spend their days. We, along with many others, felt that environment could only be achieved at Chimp Haven and thank NIH for reconsidering the plans for these chimpanzees.”
Immediately, the 200 acre sanctuary launched Road to Chimp Haven, a $5 million campaign that would cover needed construction and care for the incoming chimpanzees. Organizations such as, The New England Antivivisection Society, The Humane Society of the United States, The National Antivivisection Society and The American Antivivisection Society made significant donations. Animal activists Bob Barker and Anita Hirsh, both made $1 million contributions toward construction of the play areas and bedrooms.
Since the start of construction last year, six play areas have been completed which enabled the sanctuary to complete the transitioning phase for the chimpanzees. Currently, several bedrooms and one large open play ground are nearing completion which will allow more room for future growth.
Spraetz said, “Because of the generosity of our donors, we have made great strides for these beautiful animals. However, the public’s help is needed to close the $2 million funding gap that still remains and must be earmarked for their daily care for the remainder of their lives.”
Here’s a little more information about some of the chimps:
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