Recommendation 2: The National Institutes of Health should limit the use of chimpanzees in comparative genomics and behavioral research to those studies that meet the following two criteria:

1.  Studies provide otherwise unattainable insight into comparative genomics, normal and abnormal behavior, mental health, emotion, or cognition; and

2.  All experiments are performed on acquiescent animals, using techniques that are minimally invasive, and in a manner that minimizes pain and distress.

Animals used in the proposed research must be maintained either in ethologically appropriate physical and social environments or in natural habitats. Comparative genomics and behavioral research using stored samples are exempt from these criteria.

The criteria set forth in the report are intended to guide not only current research policy, but also decisions regarding potential use of the chimpanzee model for future research. The committee acknowledges that imposing an outright and immediate prohibition of funding could cause unacceptable losses to research programs as well as have an impact on the animals. Therefore, although the committee was not asked to consider how its recommended policies should be implemented, it believes that the NIH should evaluate the necessity of the chimpanzee in all grant renewals and future research projects using the chimpanzee model based on the committee’s criteria.

In March 1989 the NIH chartered the Interagency Animal Model Committee (IAMC) “to provide oversight of all federally supported biomedical and behavioral research involving chimpanzees” (NIH, unpublished). As indicated in its charter:

The IAMC review mechanism represents a commitment to the public and the U.S. Congress to promote the conservation and care of chimpanzees when this species is the best or possibly the only model for the conduct of research to advance scientific knowledge and to address questions that have significant impact on public health.

The IAMC shall review all federally-supported research protocols involving the use of chimpanzees before the initiation of the study. Prior to this review, the

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement