The Humane Society of the United States is ramping up the pressure on UL’s New Iberia Research Center to release nine research chimpanzees to a sanctuary. The fate of the chimps, known collectively as Group Megan, is currently under evaluation by the university, according to a press release issued by HSUS.

“The HSUS is asking members and constituents to contact university president E. Joseph Savoie and ask him to send these nine chimpanzees, some of whom have lived in a laboratory setting for more than 20 years, to a sanctuary to live out the rest of their lives after enduring experimentation,” the release states.

NIRC’s activities made national headlines a year ago following the release of an undercover HSUS video purporting to show mistreatment of some of the more than 300 chimps housed at the facility. The video first aired on ABC News’ Nightline. The guerilla video led to a 108-page complaint filed with the United States Department of Agriculture against NIRC. A resulting USDA investigation of the center is ongoing, according to The Advocate, although a report released in March 2009 found several areas in which NIRC wasn’t in compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act. The university has long insisted it follows federal guidelines in its treatment of primates at the facility.

For more on NIRC and the Humane Society’s campaign against it, read The Independent’s March 17, 2009 cover story, “Cage Match.”

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