US agency halts funding for medical research using chimps
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The National Institutes of Health (NIH), America's foremost medical research agency, said on Wednesday it no longer would fund studies involving chimpanzees, as it prepares to revise its policies on using the primates.
The NIH said it also plans to review all ongoing studies using chimpanzees, although such projects already are rare. Of the 94,000 NIH-funded projects in 2011, only 53 used the primates.
"While used very selectively and in limited numbers for medical research, chimpanzees have served an important role in advancing human health in the past," the NIH said in a statement.
"However, new methods and technologies developed by the biomedical community have provided alternatives to the use of chimpanzees in several areas of research," it said.