Jessamine County animal rescue prepares for influx of lab chimps

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JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Not too far from Nicholasville Road is a unique animal sanctuary - the Primate Rescue Center.

"The Primate Rescue Center is a non-profit organization that provides lifetime care to rescued chimpanzees and monkeys," assistant executive director Eileen Dunnington said.

Staff say most of the rescues at the center come from people keeping them as pets or from laboratories using the primates for research. Dunnington says there will soon be a lot more chimps that need a place to call home.

"The National Institutes of Health have decided to retire their chimpanzees from the research communities," she said. "There will be no more government funding to perform research on chimpanzees."

Dunnington says the center is at capacity and would need funding to build another enclosure to house the retired chimps.

"We hope that the laboratories, universities and the pharmaceutical companies that have profited from the use of these chimpanzees in their research will be held accountable and will provide the funding that these animals deserve," she said.

According to National Institutes of Health, nearly 700 chimps in government and private labs will need new homes.

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