Council of Councils
Council Advice on NIH-Owned or -Supported Chimpanzees
NIH Veterinary Panel
In November 2018, NIH established a panel of NIH veterinarians with chimpanzee or other non-human primate expertise (Panel) independent from the NIH Chimpanzee Management Program, external stakeholder groups or organizations, and sites holding chimpanzees. The Panel was established to review the records of at-risk chimpanzees when the attending veterinarian determined that a chimpanzee should not move to the federal sanctuary located at Chimp Haven, Inc. because of health or welfare related concerns. In addition to medical records, this review included discussing with the attending veterinarian his/her rationale for not signing the health certificate necessary for transfer, and consulting with other veterinary specialists who have examined the animals, and if needed, examining the chimpanzees to determine if the chimpanzees should be relocated or remain at their current facility. The Panel met for the first time in February 2019 to begin reviewing records for at-risk, NIH-owned chimpanzees located at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF).
In September 2019, the Panel completed its APF review following a protocol they developed to ensure uniform standards. The Panel agreed with the APF attending veterinarian’s decision about which animals should remain at APF. The Panel prepared one-page summaries of their review of each chimpanzee at APF.
- Protocol Developed and Followed by the NIH Veterinary Panel in Reviewing Animals for which Relocation is not Recommended by the Alamogordo Primate Facility Attending Veterinarian
- NIH Veterinary Panel Review Summaries for Animals Located at the Alamogordo Primate Facility
- The NIH Veterinary Panel Meeting September 12, 2019 report Summarizing the Review Process and the Panel’s determination regarding Animals Located at the Alamogordo Primate Facility
In September 2021, the Panel completed its initial review of animals at the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research (KCCMR). The NIH veterinary panel agrees with the KCCMR assessment on 49 of the 51 chimpanzees and has determined these chimpanzees should live the remainder of their lives at KCCMR to ensure their safety and welfare. NIH agrees with this decision.
Following discussions with the KCCMR attending veterinarians, consulting cardiologist, and behavioral experts, as well as a Chimp Haven behaviorist; the Panel determined that additional assessments are needed for 2 of the remaining 51 animals at KCCMR to determine if they can safely relocate to the federal sanctuary at Chimp Haven. As explained in the protocol, in cases where the NIH veterinary panel disagrees with the recommendation of the attending veterinarian at the sending facility, they will conduct an in-person physical examination of the animal to determine suitability for relocation to Chimp Haven. That visit by the NIH veterinary panel is now being arranged.
Working Group on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees
On January 26, 2018, NIH charged the Council of Councils with assembling a working group to assess the safety of relocating at-risk chimpanzees. The Working Group was to provide advice and recommendations on factors to be considered by attending veterinarian staff when deciding whether to relocate NIH-owned or -supported chimpanzees between federally supported facilities and the federal chimpanzee sanctuary. On May 18, 2018, the Working Group presented their findings to the Council of Councils, which subsequently adopted the report and recommendations and transmitted them to NIH for consideration. The NIH issued a public request for information until August 10, 2018, to obtain broad input and inform the agency in its decisions regarding the Working Group’s recommendations. On October 17, 2018, the NIH released a report summarizing the public comments and announcing its decisions on assessing the safety of relocating at-risk chimpanzees owned or supported by NIH to the federal chimpanzee sanctuary system.
- Working Group Charge and Roster
- Working Group Report
- Statement on the Council of Councils Working Group Report on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees
- Request for Information (RFI): Input on Report From Council of Councils on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees
- Announcement of Agency Decisions on Recommendations from the NIH Council of Councils Working Group on the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees
- Chimpanzee Health Categorization Framework: Harmonized Across NIH-Supported Facilities
Chimpanzee Research Use Panel
(Working Group disbanded following NIH decision to no longer fund biomedical research using chimpanzees.)
Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research
On Feb. 2, 2012, NIH charged the Council of Councils with assembling a working group to propose advice on implementing recommendations by the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academies) to consider the size and placement of the active and inactive populations of NIH-owned and -supported chimpanzees. On January 22, 2013, the Council of Councils accepted the working group’s recommendations and provided these recommendations to the NIH. After seeking and considering public comments, the agency accepted a majority of the Council’s recommendations on June 26, 2013.
- Working Group Background, Charge, and Roster
- Working Group Meetings
- Report & Announcement
- Summary of Public Comments
- FAQs Concerning the NIH Response to the IOM Report
- Notice of Agency Decision: The Density of the Primary Living Space of Captive Chimpanzees Owned or Supported by the NIH or Used in NIH-Supported Research
- Announcement of Agency Decision: Recommendations on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research
Timeline of NIH Decision to End the Use of Chimpanzees in Research
|September 2021||The NIH Veterinary Panel made a determination that 49 of the remaining NIH-owned chimpanzees at the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research should remain at that facility, and additional assessments including physical examination are needed for an additional 2 chimpanzees.|
|September 2019||The NIH Veterinary Panel made its determination that the remaining NIH-owned chimpanzees at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF), based on their health and social groupings, should remain at that facility.|
|February 2019||The NIH-established panel of three NIH veterinarians with expertise in chimpanzees or other nonhuman primate veterinary medicine first met in February 2019 to begin reviewing records for chimpanzees at the APF. In November 2018, NIH formed this panel of three veterinarians who are independent from the NIH Chimpanzee Management Program, external stakeholder groups or organizations, and sites holding chimpanzees to review the records of NIH-owned or supported chimpanzee under consideration for relocation, discuss with the sending attending veterinarian his/her rationale for not signing the health certificate necessary for transfer, and consult with other veterinary specialists who have examined the animals, and if needed, to examine the chimpanzees, to determine if the chimpanzees should be relocated or remain at their current facility.|
|February 2019||NIH publishes a standardized chimpanzee health categorization framework to inform relocation decisions of at-risk chimpanzees.|
|October 2018||NIH announces its decisions on recommendations from the Council of Councils on relocation of at-risk chimpanzees.|
|May 2018||NIH Council of Councils presents recommendations.|
|February 2018||NIH charges a working group of the Council of Councils to assess the safety of relocating at-risk chimpanzees.|
|August 2016||NIH develops plan to retire NIH-owned and -supported chimpanzees|
|November 2015||NIH announces it will no longer support biomedical research using chimpanzees|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes rule listing all chimpanzees as endangered under the endangered species act
|June 2013||NIH announces it will significantly reduce the use of chimpanzees in research|
|January 2013||NIH Council of Councils presents recommendations.|
|December 2011||The National Academies (then the IOM) issues report: Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity. Concludes that most current use of chimpanzees in biomedical research is unnecessary and that the use of chimpanzees in research that may still be needed should be guided by a set of principles and criteria.|
|December 2010||NIH Director commissioned a study by the Institute of Medicine to determine the continued scientific need for chimpanzees in NIH-funded research.|
This page last reviewed on September 29, 2021