The National Institute of Health is closing its controversial chimp research program after pressure from activists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tightened rules for using chimps for research.
The NIH had already reduced the number of chimps from 400 in 2013 to 50, and said that remaining primates will be retired and resettled.
“It is time to acknowledge that there is no further justification for the 50 chimpanzees to continue to be kept available for invasive biomedical research,” NIH Director Francis Collins wrote to NIH administrators according to The Hill.
In June, the U.S. FWS tightened rules for using chimps in research, requiring researchers to seek a specific permit before they are allowed to conduct research on the primates. The move came along with applying endangered-species protections to chimps.
Collins said that along with the new rules from the FWS , the NIH was seeing a “significantly reduced demand for chimpanzees” in research, according to The Hill. “It is clear that we’ve reached a tipping point,” Collins said.