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News: Project R&R News

Update on Alamogordo Transfer

July 8, 2010 • Posted in Project R&R News

Alamogordo deaths tallied

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, NEAVS/Project R&R has learned that 62 chimpanzees have died at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) between 2001 and 2010.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has come under fire in recent months because, after nine years of being housed at the APF, a holding facility at which no research took place, the NIH has decided to transfer all 186 APF chimpanzees to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in Texas, where they will be offered for use nationwide in invasive hepatitis, cancer, autoimmune disease, and other research. The chimpanzee deaths at APF attest to the grim realities of their lives in laboratories and the toll it takes on them:

The chimpanzees currently at APF have little time left due to their ages and health conditions. Join us in calling upon the NIH to halt the Alamogordo transfer and to retire all remaining chimpanzees to sanctuary before it’s too late.


Public outrage continues

The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) plan to transfer an estimated 186 chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) in New Mexico to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in Texas, moving them from a holding facility to a lab where they will be more readily available for invasive research.

Before living at APF, these individuals endured years of research or use as “breeders” to make babies to be sent into research. New Mexico citizens and supporters nationwide; animal protection groups; actor Gene Hackman, who has a home in New Mexico; and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson have all joined in urging the NIH to halt their transfer plans.

Recently, Governor Richardson met with officials at the NIH to urge them to keep the chimpanzees in New Mexico and to convert APF into a sanctuary. In his press release following this meeting, Governor Richardson stated, “While it appears they are holding steadfast to their position, I am holding steadfast to mine. I will continue pressing for a humane, long-term care solution for the care of these chimpanzees ….”

To date the NIH appears unmoved.

The Southwest lab has said that the newly arrived chimpanzees will be made available for biomedical research nationwide in hepatitis B and hepatitis C, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Yet as NEAVS/Project R&R has shown through the research of our Science Director, Dr. Jarrod Bailey, the extensive past use of chimpanzees in these areas has contributed little or nothing of significance to human health, and has in many cases been a costly failure.

We thank Governor Richardson for advocating on behalf of the Alamogordo chimpanzees and urge the public to continue pressuring the NIH to retire the chimpanzees rather than subjecting them to further research.

Please TAKE ACTION now by adding your voice to the outcry for their permanent retirement and for turning Alamogordo into a model sanctuary of chimpanzee care.

To get involved in local efforts on behalf of the chimpanzees at APF, go to www.apnm.org/chimps.

For more information on efforts to end all chimpanzee research, including the recent introduction of a Senate version of the Great Ape Protection Act (S.3694).

At least 14 chimpanzees already moved

On July 1, 2010 at least 14 chimpanzees were moved from the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) to the Southwest National Primate Research Center (Southwest) in Texas, where they will be available for use in invasive research. The federal government plans to move the rest of the 188 chimpanzees housed at APF to Southwest by early 2011. “This is an urgent situation … New Mexico wants to save these chimpanzees who have already given so much of their lives to the American public as part of medical research studies,” said New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in a July 22 release.

According to the release, Gov. Richardson sent a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health (NIH), asking the federal government to permanently retire the 202 chimpanzees, return the 14 chimpanzees who have already been sent to Texas, and convert APF into a sanctuary.

Since 2001, APF has served as a holding facility, run by Charles River Laboratories under a NIH contract, for these government-owned chimpanzees. No research was conducted on the premises of APF. The few individuals used in active research were sent out to other facilities. All records suggest this was a rare occurrence. Once the government moves them to Southwest, however, they will be more readily available for invasive research.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW) in Washington says that several of the chimpanzees they rescued from the Buckshire Corporation in 2008 have children at APF. Foxie, Negra, and Jody — all now safely at CSNW — were formerly used for breeding and had their children taken away from them shortly after birth. While they themselves were eventually rescued and brought to sanctuary, their children remain in harm’s way. Foxie’s son David, Negra’s daughter Heidi, and Jody’s children Levi and April are all at APF. Sadly, NEAVS/Project R&R has learned that Levi is one of the 14 chimpanzees who have already been sent to Southwest.

Stop the transfer of Alamogordo chimpanzees

We’ve learned that the federal government plans to move more than 200 chimpanzees now living at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in Texas. At APF the vast majority of chimpanzees were being warehoused. Once the Air Force’s program finished its gravity experiments and the infamous Coulston Foundation closed down, the government elected to maintain 288 chimpanzees at the Alamogordo facility. In the last 10 years, a miniscule number were sent into research at other facilities. Once at Southwest, the remaining chimpanzees will be readily available for invasive research.The government plans to move 14-15 chimpanzees this summer and the remainder in January 2011. Housing renovations are underway at Southwest funded by taxpayer dollars.

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