Lawmakers press for research monkeys to go to sanctuaries

Lawmakers press for research monkeys to go to sanctuaries
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House Democrats are pressing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to send monkeys at a research facility scheduled for closure to sanctuaries rather than other laboratories. 

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A letter from the 28 lawmakers follows the NIH's announcement earlier this month that it is ending psychological research on monkeys at a facility in Maryland. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had campaigned against the facility. 

NIH told CBS earlier this month only that the decision to close the facility was “based on internal programmatic priorities and the desire to optimize research efficiency.”

Now, the lawmakers, led by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Sam FarrSamuel (Sam) Sharon FarrMedical marijuana supporters hopeful about government funding bill Marijuana advocates to give away free joints on Capitol Hill DEA decision against reclassifying marijuana ignores public opinion MORE (D-Calif.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.), are pressing the NIH to send the 300 young and adult monkeys at the Maryland facility to sanctuaries. 

“We were pleased to learn of your decision to end controversial and expensive psychological experiments on infant monkeys at the National Institutes of Health’s Poolesville, MD laboratory, and to completely wind-down operations at the facility by 2018,” the lawmakers write.  

“We understand that there are approximately 300 young and adult monkeys currently housed at this laboratory,” they add. “We believe the responsible next step is to transfer them to appropriate sanctuaries rather than sending them to other laboratories where they would likely be subjected to years of additional experiments at significant expense to taxpayers.”

The NIH also announced last month that it was ending its controversial chimpanzee research program. 

“It is time to acknowledge that there is no further justification for the 50 chimpanzees to continue to be kept available for invasive biomedical research,” NIH Director Francis Collins wrote at the time.