Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gov. Goes to Bat for Chimps

Gov. Bill Richardson today met with officials at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. to discuss his concerns regarding the NIH plan to transfer the chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a facility in Texas for medical research.

"I appreciate NIH officials listening to my concerns, shared by many New Mexicans and others around the country, about the organization's planned transfer of chimpanzees from their home in Alamogordo and the continuation of invasive medical research on the primates," Richardson said in a news release this afternoon.

More than 200 chimps are at the Alamogordo facility.

"While it appears (NIH officials) are holding steadfast to their position, I am holding steadfast to mine," Richardson said. "I will continue pressing for a humane, long-term care solution for the care of these chimpanzees which have already had to endure years of medical testing."

The governor also he believes the National Academy of Sciences should do an independent review of policies regarding the use of chimps in medical research. Richardson requested a tour of the Alamogordo Primate Facility operated by Charles River Laboratories and located on Holloman Air Force Base.

According to the agreement with the base, no research may be conducted on the chimps while they are at the facility. But NIH's contract will expire next May -- when NIH plans to transfer the chimps to Texas.

If Richardson is successful, the chimps surely will celebrate, as indicated in the video below: