Governor Bill Richardson today met with officials at the National Institutes
of Health in Bethesda, MD to discuss his concerns regarding their plan to transfer the chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility to a facility in Texas for medical research.
Governor Richardson reiterated his call to have the chimps permanently retired and to turn the Alamogordo facility into a sanctuary for the primates.
"I appreciate NIH officials listening to my concerns, shared by many New Mexicans and others around the country, about the organization's planned transfer of chimpanzees from their home in Alamogordo and the continuation of invasive medical research on the primates," Governor Bill Richardson said. "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 which have already had to endure years of medical testing."
Governor Richardson also stated that he believes the National Academy of Sciences should do an independent review of policies regarding the use of chimps for medical research.
Governor Richardson also requested a tour of the Alamogordo Primate Facility operated by Charles River Laboratories and located on Holloman Air Force Base. According to the agreement with Holloman, no research may be conducted on the primates while they are at the facility. The lab's contract with NIH is set to expire in May 2011 at which time NIH plans to transfer the chimps to Texas.
At today's meeting, NIH officials said they plan to keep staffing levels at the Alamogordo facility at the same level through 2011 and is committed to helping find an alternative use and job opportunities for the facility.