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Articles and Reports

The Primate Experimentation Scandal, 2005: An Investigative Report
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN

National Primate Research Center System Data

As a last examination the National Primate Research Center system has been analyzed to further assess the direction of primate experimentation in the U.S. Statistics for these eight facilities are very important because, by themselves they account for over 30,000 primates per year. These labs file (with the NIH) annual progress reports that disclose their primate populations. The reports for the 2002 - 2003 year were compared with similar reports for 1997. For the southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research a slightly different approach was utilized. This lab joined the Primate Center System during this period. Therefore, the 2002 - 2003 NIH report was compared with the annual report for this facility filed with the USDA for 1997. During this period the population of these eight labs climbed from 22,926 to 30,884, an increase of 7958 primates or 35% (See Appendix N).

It is clear that the use of primates is increasing in the U.S. The experimentation statistics promulgated by the USDA show an increase of 24% in a ten-year period (1995 2004). The comparison of USDA census statistics for 2001 and 2004 show an increase of 13% in three years. And the population of the eight laboratories that make up the National Primate Research Center System have increased 35% in a five-year period (1997 2002). So, by several different measures over several different time periods, the numbers all agree. The use of primates in experimentation is substantially increasing.

The laboratories which make up the National Primate Research Center System file reports annually with the National Institutes of Health. These facilities confine about 1/4 - 1/3 of the total for all primates in labs and the dealers that supply labs. Also, the experimentation conducted at these facilities, due to their different emphases, represents most areas of experimentation that are conducted on primates nationally. Data from the reports for the 2002 2003 reporting period will be used to represent the different labs that utilize primates nationally. The population for these facilities on the ending day of their reporting period was 23,323. During the year 3658 primates had died within these facilities (See Appendix M). This is a death rate of 15.7 % overall. If this statistic were applied to the entire primate population for the U.S. 120,000 primates, then the approximate annual death toll would be 18,840 total deaths per year, or 52 primates per day.

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