That is why I was very happy to hear yesterday that the United States would be largely phasing out biomedical research on chimpanzees.  The U.S. is the only country that still keeps chimpanzees for this type of research.  Austria, New Zealand, the Netherlands the United Kingdom introduced bans on using chimpanzees for biomedical research in 2006.  This is not just because using chimpanzees as guinea pigs is morally abhorrent.  It is also because chimpanzees as models offer us nothing that can’t be gained from using other animals as models (e.g., rats, hamsters, guinea pigs).  Considering that it is cheaper, more efficient, and useful to use rodents in biomedical research, there is really no reason to continue large-scale research on our closest relatives. 

The United States new proposed federal rules wouldn’t limit all research, but it does place a stranglehold on new research.  Here is the statement from Working Group on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website:

“NIH will not fund any new or other competing projects (renewal and revisions) for research involving chimpanzees and will not allow any new projects to go forward with NIH-owned or supported chimpanzees.”