UPDATE: President Signs CHIMP Act Amendments Bill
Chimp Haven funding restored in time to provide for hundreds of NIH retirees
The CHIMP Act Amendments provisions, added to the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who Deliver Infants Early Reauthorization Act, S 252, has now been signed into law. The CHIMP Act Amendments received overwhelming approval by both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on November 27, 2013. With the stroke of his pen, President Obama restored the funding needed to provide for the care of hundreds of chimpanzees retired from research now and in the near future.
This amendment was desperately needed to provide funds to Chimp Haven, the national sanctuary that relies on federal funds for 75% of its operating funds. The funding cap set in the 2002 Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act reached its cap at the same time that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that most research on chimpanzees was unnecessary and plans were made to retire those chimpanzees permanently. The funding cap made it impossible to transfer these NIH chimpanzees from their laboratories because Chimp Haven has insufficient money to provide for their care. While 25% of Chimp Haven’s operating costs must come from the public sector, that money is insufficient to support the hundreds of chimpanzees who call Chimp Haven home.
Chimp Haven is already building new facilities for chimpanzees to be retired from the New Iberia Research Center. With the passage of this bill, funds previously allocated to the NIH for the care of chimpanzees can be used for the construction, care and maintenance of chimpanzees already in residence and for chimpanzees soon to be retired. $12.4 million has been allocated for 2014, with a decrease in funding over the next five years.
Both the original bill and the amendment passed last week require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an independent evaluation of chimpanzees owned or controlled by the NIH and their status in two years. The report will cover the research or retirement status of each chimpanzee, as well as the costs and care provided for the animals under the current plan of retirement.
Congratulations to Congress for ensuring that Chimp Haven—and its residents—will have the support they need to thrive.