Governor Bill Richardson will meet next week with officials at the National
Institutes of Health to discuss his concerns regarding their plan to transfer chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a research facility in Texas. The meeting will take place Tuesday at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.
In a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins last month, Governor Richardson urged the organization to permanently retire the chimpanzees and convert the Alamogordo Primate Facility into a sanctuary for the primates.
"These chimpanzees have already given so much of their lives as part of medical research, and they should be able to live out the remainder of their years in peace not being subject to invasive research," Governor Richardson. "The community of Alamogordo also stands to lose more than 40 jobs due to the proposed transfer. I am confident that there is a more prudent and
compassionate alternative to the National Institutes of Health's plan."
The 202 chimpanzees have been housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility on Holloman Air Force Base since 2001. According to the agreement with Holloman, no research may be conducted on the primates while they are at the facility.
Charles River Laboratories, which operates the Alamogordo Primate Facility, is contracted with NIH until May 2011. NIH has announced plans to move all of the chimpanzees to Texas where they will be used for invasive medical research by as early as 2011. In recent weeks, 15 of the chimps have been moved to the Southwest National Primate Research Center in Texas.