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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Articles and Reports

The Reality of Primate Experimentation in the United States:
Lies, Greed, and Insanity

By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.

Why are Primate Protocols Duplicated?

It may have become clear by now that many types of experimentation performed on primates are highly duplicated. While it is difficult to look at this issue in it’s’ entirety it is possible to examine one small area of it. As was stated earlier in this report, utilization of the NIH CRISP system provides access to a listing of 75 grants funded during 2006 by the National Eye Institute related to vision which use macaque monkeys. These projects all examine the firing of individual cells within the visual centers of the brain of macaque monkeys. The methodology used in these projects is strikingly similar.

Why would duplication of this nature happen? What is the real motivation? While the public is told that a certain level of duplication is necessary in science, do we need 75 projects that are all examining the same area? How could this happen?

As part of the issuance of this report approximately 50 grant applications which have been obtained from the National Eye Institute through the Freedom of Information Act have been placed on the SAEN website at: http://www.all-creatures.org/saen/grants-gov.html

When the front page of most of these grants is examined, it is easy to find the financial information relevant to these grants. The grant application for EY000745-34A1, of Albert Fuchs at the University of Washington in Seattle will be used as an example. This project has a direct cost of $378,994, and a total cost of $589,970 per year. The difference of these two numbers is $210,976. This number is the indirect cost of this grant, and it goes directly to the University of Washington.

The $378,994 in direct costs pays for the animals, the researcher’s salary, etc. The indirect cost pays for things like utilities, staffing, etc. During 2007 the University of Washington, Seattle had 42 grants that used primates. Each one of these grants has an indirect cost portion. If each one received only $200,000 per year in indirect costs, then the University of Washington would receive $8.4 million per year in indirect costs for these grants alone. Now, multiply this by all of the grants that the University of Washington receives for primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs, etc. This indirect cost number would reach into the tens if not the hundreds of millions in indirect cost dollars, for this university alone. Now multiply this by all of the 903 grants for primate research (this number is almost certainly incomplete because many grants use specific species names instead of general terms like primate) by $200,000 per grant in indirect costs (a conservative number) and the result is over $180 million in indirect costs alone. This is a conservative amount for only one species, and does not include the actual original grant amounts.

This high level of “indirect” funding is a powerful motivation for performing as many experiments as can possibly be funded at each and every research facility. Clearly, the project approval committees of all universities and laboratories that receive federal funding have serious vested interests in insuring that the highest possible number of research projects are funded. These grants provide a tremendous income stream for laboratories. This is not about science or health. Primate research, like all animal research, is about attracting grant funding. This issue is important not only because of the waste of tens of millions of tax dollars, but also because the Animal Welfare Act contains regulations regarding the unnecessary duplication of research, and the simplest way to produce more grants is to simply have many grants that do and re-do the same project, or at best very slight variations of the same basic project.

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