Gov. Richardson Goes to Bat for Chimps

New Mexico Gov. Richardson urges Washington to stop the move of 186 ailing chimps.

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You got to hand it to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. There isn't a single segment of his state that he ignores, even the chimpanzees housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Backing a public outcry against the transfer of 186 ailing chimps from the facility to a National Institutes of Health research office in San Antonio, Texas, Richardson plans to come to Washington Thursday to demand that the move stop and that the Agriculture Department probe the move, which he says violates USDA handling of the animals.

In a legal letter he'll present tomorrow, he says that moving the chimps could kill them. Some are as old as 53, and many are sick. NIH says that the Alamogordo contract is up and that they need the chimps for hepatitis research. Plus they are going to a nice home, says NIH.

Richardson doesn't buy it. "In simple terms," says his legal letter provided to Whispers, "if the...chimpanzees are transported to [San Antonio], many may be expected to die either in rout or after arrival," he warns. Read his full letter here.