NEW ORLEANS – The Latest on chimps being moved from Louisiana lab to sanctuary (all times local):
An animal rights activist says it's "high time" that a Louisiana university retired 220 chimpanzees in a research lab and moved them to a sanctuary. And Michael Budkie of the group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! says the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is taking a positive step by paying at least part of their cost at the new sanctuary in north Georgia.
But he says 5,000 monkeys still at the university's New Iberia Research Center also should be removed from research.
University spokesman Charlie Bier did not respond directly, saying the university's comments all are in a news release and frequently asked questions webpage.
The university says it's been planning retirement and sanctuary for its chimpanzees for more than two years, and "the vast majority" were never part of any research. It says all were retired last year, and all have daily access to outdoor play areas and natural sunlight.
A Louisiana university says all 220 chimpanzees at its research lab in New Iberia will be moving to a new sanctuary in north Georgia, in what appears to be a first for a non-federal lab.
A joint announcement Tuesday by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Project Chimps says the great apes will be moved to the sanctuary in Blue Ridge, Georgia, in social groups, starting in June and continuing over several years.
Project Chimps co-founder Sarah Baeckler (BEK-ler) Davis says it's the first time a non-federal research program has arranged to release all of its research chimps. Project Chimps is a nonprofit created to house the New Iberia chimps.
The Humane Society of the United States confirms that this is the first large-scale relocation from a non-federal lab.