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.
Funding for primate experimentation appears to be at an
all time high with the National Institutes of Health currently directing
over $500 million to primate based projects. When other government sources
are taken into account the overall funding estimate for the federal
government likely exceeds $530 million. The number of primate grants
funded by the National Institutes of Health has risen 59.5% in the last
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.
Despite the performance of experiments which
specifically discuss stress and potentially painful conditions, large
laboratories continue to mislead federal regulatory agencies by repeatedly
reporting zero animals experiencing unrelieved pain or distress. This
fallacious reporting is exemplified by documents filed by Harvard and the
University of Wisconsin, Madison (UW). Documents filed with the NIH by
Harvard for the year 2000 reveal that as many as 605 primates experienced
unrelieved pain or distress during experimentation. However, Harvard
reported no primates in this category to the USDA. Similarly, documents
filed with the NIH by the UW expose 109 primates experiencing unrelieved
pain or distress during experimentation. Post mortem records for an
additional 29 primates at the UW indicate severe pathological conditions
which would have caused substantial suffering for the primates. However,
reports filed by the UW with the USDA again reveal the reporting of no
primates experiencing unrelieved pain or distress. These filing
discrepancies will be the basis of official complaints which will be filed
against these universities with the USDA.
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.