The U.S. Is ‘Out of Step’ on Primate Research With the Rest of the World
Animals in Labs Article from

FROM Reynard Loki, Earth/Food/Life a project of the Independent Media Institute
September 2021

When it comes to cruel, deadly and unnecessary experiments, particularly on our close evolutionary cousins, it’s time for the United States to get in sync with modern science. Congress shouldn’t just reject additional funding for primate research—it should ban it altogether.

lab caged primate
According to USDA figures, in 2019, there were more than 40,000 monkeys held ‘on reserve’ in federal research facilities, in addition to the more than 68,000 monkeys subjected to experiments. (Photo credit: shankar s./Flickr)

In the last two years, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has invested nearly $29 million to breed more monkeys for biomedical research, with an additional $7.5 million to be spent by October. The investments, which include infrastructure improvements at the U.S. National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs), have been made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as researchers have been testing numerous vaccines on nonhuman primates, most commonly rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)—a species of Old World monkey commonly used to study infectious diseases—before human trials began.

Using the pandemic as the pretext, the Biden administration has proposed using even more taxpayer money to conduct primate research, suggesting a 27 percent funding increase for the NPRCs in its fiscal year 2022 budget request. If Congress gives the administration its stamp of approval, an additional $30 million would be given to the centers.

“We have been making investments to bring the levels up and to plan for the future,” James Anderson, director of the NIH Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in Bethesda, Maryland, told Nature. “What happens if [a pandemic] happens again, with another virus in three years? We want to be ready for that.”

“A couple of years ago, we were feeling the pinch,” Nancy Haigwood, director of the NPRC in Beaverton, Oregon, told Nature. Citing the pandemic, Haigwood said, “we are truly out of animals,” though Nature reports that the center she runs houses some 5,000 primates.



Return to Animals in Labs
Read more at Alternatives to Animal Testing, Experimentation and Dissection Articles
Read more at COVID-19/Coronavirus Articles Directory