While exact numerical comparisons regarding the number
of primates in laboratories are difficult due to reporting
inconsistencies, it is clear that a very high number of primates are
currently imprisoned within U.S. laboratories. For fiscal 2002 the USDA
reports the use of 52,275 primates in experimentation for the entire
U.S. The USDA also reports that U.S. labs held 43,676 primates for
breeding or conditioning. This places 95,951 primates within U.S.
laboratories. The trend in laboratory populations of primates is
increasing dramatically, having risen 42% in the last five years.
Funding for primate experimentation appears to be at
an all time high with the National Institutes of Health currently
directing over $950 million into primate experimentation. The overall
estimate for federal spending on primate experimentation (including
spending by the NIH, DOD, USDA, EPA, NSF, SBIR) is $1.1 billion. The
number of primate grants funded by the National Institutes of Health has
risen 54.6% in the last ten years.
Government documents reveal a pattern of Animal
Welfare Act violations within major primate laboratories across the
United States. Primates appear to be dying of dehydration and literally
wasting away within many large laboratories. Environmental enhancement
appears to be another area of consistent violations of the Animal
Welfare Act by laboratories across the U.S. Internal government
documents also reveal that as many as 35% of all primates within
laboratories experience some level of social isolation. USDA inspection
reports and other documents indicate that many facilities still maintain
large numbers of primates in social isolation. The cages of many
primates are utterly barren, lacking even a simple perch.
Health care records from several research facilities,
as well as USDA inspection reports, indicate that primates within many
research facilities are suffering from severe levels of stress.
Self-injurious behavior ranging from over-grooming to the destruction of
extremities occurs regularly. Other psychologically pathological
behavior (stress pacing, saluting, etc.) by primates is not uncommon.
This stress has led to high levels of gastro-intestinal tract disease
and high infant mortality rates in laboratory primates.
Many violations of federal regulations for primate
care occur regularly within US labs. At least three major primate labs
are the subjects of governmental regulatory action as this report is
Redundant research is the norm with 188 separate
experiments examining neural information processing in macaque monkeys.
Many other areas of experimentation are highly duplicative, including
addiction experimentation and behavioral testing.
This report makes recommendations which will lead to
the elimination of redundant experimentation, accurate reporting of
experimentation by laboratories, and additional public oversight
regarding the escalating use of primates within U.S. laboratories.
1. 95,951 primates confined in labs, 42% increase over
the last 5 years
2. $1.1 billion spent on primate experimentation by
Federal Agencies (NIH, NSF, USDA, EPA, DOD, SBIR)
3. 54.6% increase in the number of NIH grants for
primate experimentation for the last 10 years
4. Funding of the Primate Research Center System has
increased by 182% in the last 5 years