The U.S. federal health agency has accepted an independent committee’s proposals for chimpanzees used for biomedical and behavioral research, Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health Director said in a statement on Thursday.
“I have considered the report carefully and have decided to accept the IOM committee recommendations. NIH is in the process of developing a complete plan for implementation of the IOM’s guiding principles and criteria,” Collins said.
The Institute of Medicine guiding principles and final assessments were based off of an in depth analysis of the scientific necessity of chimpanzees for federal funded biomedical and behavioral research.
The committee did not support an outright ban on chimpanzees, and instead proposed three principles to analyze current and future research using chimpanzees.
The IOM proposed that the knowledge gained must be necessary to improve the public’s health, that there must be no other research model that could be obtained, and that the animals that are used for research are kept in appropriate physical and social environments.
The NIH director said he will be assembling a working group within the agency’s Council of Councils for advice on a plan to carry out the recommendations provided by the IOM, and to decide on the size and placement of both the active and retired chimpanzees owned or supported by the NIH.
Collins also says that he will not be issuing any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until the procedures for implementing the IOM recommendations are established.
“I am grateful to the IOM for their careful and thoughtful assessment of this important and sensitive topic,” Collins added.