New Mexico Wants to Keep Texas-Bound Research Chimps

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010  |  Updated 5:42 PM CDT
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New Mexico Wants to Keep Texas-Bound Research Chimps

Lincoln Park Zoo

Animal rights advocates are fearful the animals will be subjected to harmful experiments in Texas.

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The federal government says it plans to move chimpanzees from New Mexico to a Texas research center by the end of next year, even as Gov. Bill Richardson pushes for them to remain in his state.

The animals have been left undisturbed by medical researchers for a decade at a federal facility. During a tour of the site Tuesday, Richardson suggested the Holloman Air Force Base facility could be converted into a behavioral research laboratory jointly operated by the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.

But, he says the National Institutes of Health's reaction to the suggestion wasn't "encouraging."

Animal rights advocates are fearful the animals will be subjected to harmful experiments at the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio.

Federal officials say research on chimps is necessary to develop vaccines.

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