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"Exposing the truth to wipe
out animal experimentation"
Primate Experimentation in the US: The Facts We Weren’t Supposed to Know
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T.
How Many Primates Are in Labs??
In the past all estimates regarding the number of
primates in laboratories across the United States have been incomplete.
These statistics have been based on data promulgated by the USDA.
Previous USDA data has dealt specifically with the number of primates
actually used in experimentation. No statistics were kept for the number
of primates held in labs for breeding or other purposes. However, these
practices changed for the reporting of statistics by the USDA for fiscal
For the first time statistics are now available which
deal with all primates in labs, whether held for breeding, or actually
used in experimentation. 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. This
information may not be totally complete, because since 1985 the USDA has
never been successful in obtaining reports from all U.S. labs. But it is
reasonable to assume that the majority of primates have been accounted
This information (and more detailed data including
state by state listings, etc.) is available at:
The states which record the largest population of
primates within laboratories are:
The 12 States with the Largest Populations of Primates
|| Major Primate
Labs within the State
||Tulane Primate Center
||New Iberia Lab
||UC Davis Primate Center
||Southwest Foundation Primate
||Various Government Labs
||New England Primate Center
||Yerkes Primate Center
||LABS of Virginia
||Wisconsin Primate Center
||Washington Primate Center
Oregon Primate Center
80% of the primates currently held within U.S. labs
are located within 12 states, with 52% in the top six. Many of these
primates are maintained within just a few labs (listed in the table
above). In fact 48% of the primates in US labs are held in only 10 labs.
What trends are taking place in the use of primates in
laboratories? The USDA has been charged with maintaining statistics
regarding the use of animals in experimentation. However, the statistics
maintained by the USDA have several severe limitations. Firstly, at no
time in recent years have all US labs reported. With respect to
primates, even the non-reporting of one or even two labs could
substantially skew the statistics. Secondly, only recently has the USDA
published data regarding the number of primates in labs for breeding and
conditioning. For 2002 these non-experimented upon primates made up
almost 44,000 of the approximately 96,000 primates maintained within
labs. This is another serious drawback.
Therefore, a different method of tracking primate
populations within labs has been utilized. Primate populations at
sixteen large labs have been compared for the years 1997 and 2002. For
2002 these nineteen labs comprised (when counting both experimented upon
and non-experimented upon primates) 47% of the total US laboratory
population of primates. This is clearly a reasonable sampling to
determine trends in terms of primate populations within laboratories.
Primarily two types of documents were used for this
comparison. Eight of these labs are part of the National Primate
Research System. These labs file (with the NIH) annual progress reports
that disclose their primate populations. The reports for the 2002 - 2003
year were compared with similar reports for 1997. This utilization of
documentation was necessary because the reporting period has changed for
these reports. For the southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research a
slightly different approach was utilized. This lab joined the Primate
Center System during this period. Therefore, the 2002 NIH report was
compared with the annual report for the USDA report for 1997. Data for
the other labs relied entirely on USDA reports (2001 vs. 1997).
The results of this comparison were startling. These
nineteen labs housed/experimented on 31,655 primates in 1997. During
2002, these same facilities housed/experimented on 45,036 primates. This
is an increase of 13,381 or 42%. This is an amazing increase for such a
short period. The individual facility information is contained in the
table which follows.
US Primate Laboratory Populations (a sampling)
|U of Washington (Seattle)
|U of CA (Davis)
|U of CA (SF)
|U of Oregon Health
|U of OK
|Southwest Foundation for
|U of Pittsburgh
|U of WI (Madison)
|Labs of Virginia
|U of PR
Go on to:
Primates Cared for Within Laboratories?
Articles and Reports
Experimentation in the US: The Facts We Weren’t Supposed to Know