This report was spawned by recent discussions in mass
media regarding a request for increased funding for the Primate Center
System. Associated with this funding request were assurances that the
researchers "follow stringent ethical guidelines" and that the research
performed in these facilities is worthwhile. The experimentation is
necessary, and cannot be performed any other way. We were also told that
the Primate Centers were incapable of producing even the 2000 primates
needed for AIDS research, let alone the increased needs of the
biomedical community for anti-terrorism experimentation.
However, this document has graphically demonstrated
that the primates within these laboratories, and other primate
facilities across the U.S. do not care for the animals sufficiently.
Primates are dying of dehydration, wasting disease, and are housed in
such a way as to cause substantial numbers of them to become insane.
Laws are being broken by the very laboratories who are asking for yet
more of our tax dollars.
The laboratories cannot even seem to report the
numbers of primates that they have on hand with any level of accuracy,
and the government agency charged with supervising them cannot seem to
either enforce the laws governing animal experimentation, or even
produce reports which accurately count the primates within labs. And the
officials functioning as spokespersons for the system have used
inaccurate, if not dishonest information when making their plea for
Additionally, this report has demonstrated that the
primate centers in particular, and the overall system of primate
experimentation as it is supported by the National Institutes of Health
is riddled with duplication, redundancy, and unnecessary
The Primate Center system already receives over $330
million per year for experimentation. These laboratories have not
developed any cures for diseases. They have not saved human lives. In
fact, they have squandered funding that could have been used to provide
programs which could have directly benefited human beings, other than
those paid to perform this research.
Before these facilities receive any more funding, they
are first obligated to demonstrate that they need to exist at all. They
have produced a tremendous flow of redundant experimentation whose
publications are used primarily to justify yet more experimentation. The
really relevant question is: Should the Primate Centers be allowed to
exist at all?