Home Page
About SAEN
Articles and Reports
Contact Us
Events and Campaigns
Fact Sheets
Financial Information
How You Can Help
Make a Donation, Please!
Media Coverage
Picture Archive
Press Releases
Resources and Links
Grass Roots Org. List

Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

The Defender
Vol. 2, No. 2 - Fall/Winter 2003

Primate Experimentation in the U.S.: Facts and Figures You Need to Know

During National Primate Liberation Week 2003, SAEN released an in-depth investigative report, The Primate Experimentation Scandal, 2003, to national media. This report is available on our website in the articles & reports page at: www.saenonline.org . The crucial information contained in this report is presented in this article in a more condensed form.

How Many Primates are in Laboratories?

One of the most difficult questions which has faced animal activists for many years is extremely basic: “How many primates are actually in laboratories?” United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics have been incomplete and confusing at best. While we believe most primates who were used in experimentation were reported, other primates who had been confined within labs for breeding purposes were not.

For the first time statistics are now available which deal with all primates in labs. For 2002 the USDA reports the use of 52,275 primates in experimentation and 43,676 primates for breeding or conditioning for the entire U.S. This places 95,951 primates within U.S. laboratories. This information may not be totally complete, because since 1985 the USDA has never obtained reports from all U.S. labs.

The states which record the largest population of primates within laboratories are:

The 12 States with the Largest Populations of Primates within Laboratories


Primate Population within Labs

Louisiana 11,673
California  8,841
Texas 8,307
Maryland  7,593
New Jersey 7,572
Massachusetts  6,007
Georgia  5,227
South Carolina   5,092
Virginia 4,549
Wisconsin  4,543
Washington  4,116
Oregon   3,335
Total 76,855

80% of the primates currently confined 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. For example, in Massachusetts, where the total primate population within labs is just over 6000, the New England Primate Center (affiliated with Harvard) accounts for over 2000 of these primates (actual fiscal 2000 total was 2119). Similarly, even though California has approximately 200 labs, the Primate Center at UC Davis accounts for over 5600 (5645 during 2000).

How are Primates Cared for Within Laboratories?

Are laboratories following laws regarding proper care of primates? This is a difficult question to answer. The regulations which were derived from the Animal Welfare Act cover veterinary care, feeding, pain relief in surgery, etc. Many of the regulations regarding the care of animals within labs are common to all species of animals. In other words, for the most part the regulations are the same whether we are speaking of primates or rabbits. Therefore, the USDA statistics do not differentiate whether a violation was relevant to dogs, cats, rats, or primates.

Examining the violations totals released by the USDA allow for approximately 1 out of every 4 labs to have a violation regarding animal care, and approximately 1 out of every 2 labs to have a violation regarding the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (the internal body responsible for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and for the approval of experimental protocols within a lab).

It is also significant to note that 227 separate violations of the requirements for providing environmental enhancement for primates occurred within all types of facilities that handle primates. Many of these violations took place in research facilities. The psychological well being of primates within laboratories is a major concern, because isolation has been shown to have very damaging effects on the psyche of primates. Therefore, during 2000 – 2001 the USDA undertook a Housing Survey to investigate the conditions within which primates are housed. Research facilities had a much worse record for providing socialization for primates than did either exhibitors or animal dealers. Dealers housed 89% of their animals in pair/group housing; exhibitors gave 91% of the primates in their care socialized housing. Research facilities gave only 65% socialized housing. Thus, shockingly more than 1 out of every 3 primates in research facilities experienced some level of social isolation.

Go on to Part 2:  Is Primate Experimentation Increasing? How Much Does it Cost?

Return to Vol. 2, No. 2 - Fall/Winter 2003
Return to Newsletters

We welcome your comments and questions

Welfare (d-8)

This site is hosted and maintained by:
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org.
Since date.gif (991 bytes)