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AAMC Opposes Changing Regulatory Status of Captive Chimpanzees

February 3, 2012—In a Jan. 30 comment letter  to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the AAMC opposed changing the listing status of captive chimpanzees from threatened to endangered.  The move would halt all research on captive chimpanzees.  The FWS review was generated by a petition filed by animal activists [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 2, 2011].

AAMC noted a recent Institute of Medicine panel’s report stated, “…while the chimpanzee has been a valuable animal model in the past, most current biomedical research use of chimpanzees is not necessary,” but also highlighted several “notable exceptions” [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 16, 2011].

The IOM panel also said it “recognizes how disruptive an immediate outright ban would be, affecting animal care and potentially causing unacceptable losses to the public’s health. What’s more, chimpanzees may prove uniquely important to unraveling the mystery of diseases that are unknown today.”

The importation of chimpanzees from the wild is banned by Fish and Wildlife Service regulations and by international agreement. The IOM reported in December that there are 937 chimpanzees available for research in the U.S., 612 of which are supported by NIH. The IOM further found that only 110 research projects using chimpanzees had been conducted in the U.S. in the past ten years.


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806