Updated: Friday, 09 Jul 2010, 5:02 PM MDT
Published : Friday, 09 Jul 2010, 5:02 PM MDT
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) - A controversial primate facility in Alamogordo is again under the scrutiny of animal rights activists.
The federal government wants to move more than 200 chimps out of the facility to a lab in Texas where they will undergo testing for medical research.
However, those chimps were supposed to head to Florida to be retired.
Primate research at Holloman Air Force Base has a long history that dates back to the early days of space flight.
Many animal rights groups have fought for years to make sure the chimps there are treated humanely and safely retired.
In 2001, conditions weren't satisfactory when the chimps were under the care of the Coulson Foundation. The lab was shut down for cruelty.
Half of the chimps were taken by a sanctuary organization, but more than 200 remained at the air base under new management.
Conditions have improved and the contract with the federal government doesn't allow invasive research at the facility.
Now the National Center for Research Resources, or NCRR, plans to end its contract with the facility and send the chimps to an active biomedical research center in San Antonio.
Animal Protection of New Mexico is concerned.
NCRR sent a letter to Sen. Tom Udall outlining the reasons for the changes. The letter said research can't be preformed at the Alamogordo facility so the chimps need to be sent elsewhere.
Udall said he's concerned about the chimps and 42 workers who may lose their jobs because of the move.