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

Articles and Reports

The Reporting of Animal Experimentation in the U.S.:
Errors, Lies, and Contradictions

Historical Analysis of the Reporting Patterns of Major Primate Labs

The National Primate Research Center system is comprised of eight laboratories that as a whole experiment on tens of thousands of primates every year. These eight laboratories are affiliated with these research facilities: Harvard, Oregon Health Sciences University, Tulane, University of Wisconsin (Madison), University of Washington (Seattle), Emory University, University of California (Davis), and the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.

These facilities are required to file annual reports with two federal agencies – the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Animal Welfare Act requires all active research facilities to file reports with the USDA, and all grant recipients are required to file annual progress reports with the NIH.

These reports have several things in common. One requirement is that the number of animals used by the Primate Centers is reported to both agencies. The USDA report can include animals used in experimentation that is part of the facility (i.e. the University of Washington) that may not be a part of the Primate Center. So, the USDA report can have totals larger than the NIH report, because the USDA report may cover labs that are not part of the Primate Center. However, every primate used in one of the Primate Centers must be reported to the USDA.

For this comparison totals for both experimentation and breeding/conditioning are used from both the NIH and USDA reports are used.

When these reports are compared, several things become apparent. The most obvious fact is that the numbers don’t match. In the case of Tulane, Emory, the University of California, and the University of Wisconsin, the USDA numbers are larger, or the same, so we cannot say that anything is amiss there. However, Harvard, the University of Oregon, the University of Washington, and the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research have all reported more primates to the NIH than they have to the USDA. It appears that these facilities have all violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by inaccurately reporting their primate use to the USDA or the NIH.

Specific examples of these discrepancies (see table at end of this section, and in Appendix B) abound within these laboratories. Harvard has already been shown to have misreported their primate use in 1998, and this has been confirmed by the USDA (see Appendix A). Harvard reported the use of 336 primates to the USDA in 1998, 2054 in 1999 and 2119 in 2000. However, this same laboratory reported 1810 primates to the NIH in 1998, 2337 in 1999 and 2826 in 2000. For a 3-year period Harvard reported 6973 primates to the NIH and 4509 to the USDA for a discrepancy of 2464. It appears that the folks within the primate labs at Harvard need some help with their mathematics.

Several of the other Primate Centers fared no better. The Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) reported 2914 primates to the NIH in 1998, while reporting 2359 to the USDA (a difference of 555). In 1999 OHSU reported 2612 to the USDA but reported 3543 to the NIH (a difference of 931). OHSU reported 3437 primates to the NIH in 2000, but reported 2119 to the USDA (a discrepancy of 1318). The total discrepancy for the three-year period from 1998 – 2000 is 2804.

The Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SWFBR) reported 4201 primates to the USDA in 1999 while reporting 4806 to the NIH (a difference of 605). In 2000 the SWFBR reported 4693 primates to the USDA, but they reported 4777 to the NIH (a discrepancy of 84). The officials at the SWFBR had a 2-year discrepancy of 689 primates.

The University of Washington, Seattle has done no better. For the three-year period from 1998 – 2000 the UW reported 1228, 3075, and 1122 to the USDA (totaling 5425). For the same years the UW reported 2324, 2632, and 2541 (totaling 7497) to the NIH, for a difference of 2072.

The potential inaccuracies contained in the reports by Harvard, the Oregon Health Sciences University, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, and the University of Washington (Seattle) are significant from the point of view of the overall accuracy of the Animal Welfare Enforcement Report. The facilities that make up the primate center system reported (during fiscal 1999) 36% of the primate use for the entire country. And when only 4 of these facilities have 3-year reporting discrepancies totaling over 7200 primates, then the integrity of the statistics on primate usage must be questioned, and thereby the entirety of the Animal Welfare Enforcement Report.

1998 - 2000


Used in




Reported to:
















UW Seattle




OHSU=Oregon Health Sciences University

SWFBR=Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research

UW Seattle=University of Washington Seattle

NIH=National Institutes of Health

USDA=United States Department of Agriculture

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