Stop Expansion of Washington National Primate Research Center

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Originally Posted: 10 March 2010

Stop Expansion of Washington National Primate Research Center

FROM In Defense of Animals (IDA)

Tell Barbara Alving, M.D., the director of National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) to NOT fund Washington National Primate Research Center expansion project. The NCRR Advisory Council is reviewing grant applications on an ongoing basis, so there is still time to stop the expansion.


Sign an online petition

And/Or make direct contact:

Barbara M. Alving, M.D.
Director, NCRR
31 Center Drive, Suite 3B11, MSC 2128
Bethesda, MD 20892-2128
phone (301) 496-5793
ax (301) 402 0006


Please Stop Expanding Primate Centers

I am contacting you regarding the upcoming review of National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) C06 Construction Grant applications and to ask you to allocate funding, including the Recovery Act stimulus money, for infrastructure that does not use animal subjects. Based on critical reviews of the efficacy of animal models of human disease, the future of science clearly lies in more reliable - and ethical - non-animal methods.

Animal facilities are already in place at many, if not most, research institutions, and yet these institutions are still planning to build more. One such facility, the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC), is entering its 50th year of operation and its affiliated institution, the University of Washington (UW), is requesting $15 million for another expansion. According to 2006 figures, the UW received more money in the form of public health service funds than any other US institution besides Harvard and their primate center is the largest of the eight National Primate Research Centers. The requested $15 million would be used to build a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab at their Western Building for the study of deadly, infectious diseases in non-human primates, even though the Seattle area currently houses about 30 BSL-3 labs (according to UW representatives during 2005 public hearings).

In 2007, incidents at this very facility caused the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) to put UW on probation for "serious deficiencies that had the potential to negatively impact the health, well-being, and safety of animals and humans," including inadequate safety measures and improper animal care. According to a UW report released thanks to FOIA requests by Labwatch and PETA: "At the Western Primate Facility, one hallway... was divided by a taped line. One side of the line was considered a Biosafety Level (BSL) 2 nonhuman primate area requiring full personal protective equipment (PPE). The other side of the taped line was used by personnel to enter offices and a shared break room... Other than a taped line on the floor demarking entrance to a BSL-2 area, there was no physical separation between SHIV (simian HIV)-infected monkeys and personnel carrying their lunches to the break area." This same facility has accumulated multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including the discovery of live animals in the dead animal freezer and a number of other unauthorized procedures.

I am well aware that NCRR does invest in a variety of non-animal research infrastructure, including Clinical Research Centers and Biomedical Technology Research Centers. Some of your most progressive programs, including the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) program, and the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program, offer hope that you will be equally as progressive in your efforts to broaden the base of non-animal research methods, which have been systematically overlooked and underfunded.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has given half a century and billions of dollars to the science of the past please give the science of the future the same chance.

Please do not fund construction grants for WaNPRC or any other Primate Research Center.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!