Victory! No $15 Million Expansions
For Northwest Primate Centers!

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Victory! No $15 Million Expansions for Northwest Primate Centers!

From In Defense of Animals (IDA)
June 2010

The National Center for Research Resources – the NIH center that funds research infrastructure projects – has denied $15 million in grant applications from both the Oregon and Washington primate centers!

The Washington expansion grant would have built a BioSafety Level-3 facility where primates would be exposed to deadly, infectious diseases, while the Oregon expansion grant would have allowed more monkeys to be bred and supplied to other research labs, effectively turning the primate center into a monkey factory farm. To everyone who contacted NCRR or came out to protest these projects – thank you!

A quick data analysis suggested that animal experimentation infrastructure was in the minority of the construction grant awards, with approximately 35% of grants and 33% of total funds going expressly to animal research facilities. This is probably an underestimate, with another 16% of grants and funds going to projects whose abstracts suggest some animal research, but we still consider this a significant step in the right direction.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that several awards went to areas of research profiled in a report IDA released in August 2009 to the Advisory Councils of 21 NIH Institutes and Centers, as well as the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. This report was based on commendations and criticisms from scientists themselves that were published in peer-reviewed literature. The full report is available online here. To their credit, the NCRR awarded at least one grant – several in some cases – in each of the major categories of innovative non-animal tools we highlighted: medical imaging, computational modeling, and microfluidics.

IDA is sending a letter to Dr. Barbara Alving, the Director of NCRR, to thank her for her center's progressive choices and to tell her that we will be watching these grants closely in the future. To all who contacted Dr. Alving earlier this year in response to IDA appeals, this is our “Thank You” letter to you!