The National Institutes of Health announced today that most of America's federal stockpile of chimpanzees will be permanently retired from biomedical research. Of the 360 chimps currently available for testing, 310 are to be irrevocably assigned to the Federal Sanctuary System. The remaining 50 will still be eligible to be recalled for research, if necessary.

As of this past December, there were 106 retired federal chimps already living within the sanctuary system, along with chimpanzees formerly employed by the entertainment industry or as pets. NPR reports that federal spending on chimpanzee retirement is already near its $30 million legal limit, which could "mean recategorizing some laboratories as sanctuaries."

Chimpanzees seeing other employment options should be advised that, according to today's New York Times, that they are biomechanically inferior to 12-year-old humans when it comes to throwing baseballs.

[Photo via NIH]