IV. Duplication in Research Wasting the Lives of Primates, and Tax Dollars
Another aspect of the use of primates in
experimentation, which should be of concern to the general public, is
the value of the experimentation performed within the laboratories. Even
if we ignore the issues raised above regarding the inadequacy of the
agency enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, and the inability of this
agency to maintain accurate statistics, and the violations of the Animal
Welfare Act by specific research laboratories, it is very difficult to
ignore the criminal pattern of waste within the grant system of the
National Institutes of Health, as it applies to primate experimentation.
While it is not possible to examine all of primate experimentation,
certain types of research can be examined as typical of the whole.
There are currently (for fiscal 2002) 187 separate
projects (costing a potential $56,100,000 per year) that examine neural
information processing in macaque monkeys. Other areas exhibit similar
levels of duplication. 51 projects study cocaine in macaque monkeys
($15,300,000). 44 projects study alcohol in macaque monkeys. 58 study
neurobiology. 67 study vision. 56 projects study infant macaques. 68
projects study stress. 255 projects study HIV in macaque monkeys. This
is a total of 786 projects in areas that are highly duplicated. The
elimination of even half of this duplication would save taxpayers
$118,000,000 per year (393 multiplied by the most recent NIH average
grant amount), and thousands of primate lives.
Many of these grants have been in effect for decades,
often reaching 20 or even 30 years of age. As this system of grants is
examined closely it becomes apparent that if a little research is good,
allot must be better. Once a few grants are approved in a specific area,
that area explodes with possibilities, and more grants. This system
seems more prone to support the funding of laboratories than the
acquisition of knowledge.