NIH chimps head for retirement

The National Institutes of Health no longer will use chimpanzees for biomedical research.

NIH Director Francis Collins said the the agency will retire its 50 remaining chimpanzees and send them to sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives.

Collins said he has "reassessed the need to maintain chimpanzees for biomedical research and decided that effective immediately, NIH will no longer maintain a colony of 50 chimpanzees for future research."

In 2013, NIH decided to reduce the number of chimpanzees in its research program from more than 300 to 50, in response to study from the Institute of Medicine that found that "while the chimpanzee has been a valuable animal model in past research, most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary." NIH said it would abide by the strict recommendations made by the committee behind the report for ongoing chimpanzee research.