UW Board of Regents Needs to Hear This: Close Down Cruel Primate Center

UN LAB Middleware Label: Title Ends


It’s a record that should make anyone, including members of the University of Washington’s (UW) Board of Regents, hang their head in shame.

Monkeys imprisoned at the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at UW have died from strangulation, starvation, dehydration, veterinary error, bleeding to death, choking on their own vomit, and unintended infections. A number of baby monkeys died from physical trauma after they were placed in new groups and not properly monitored.

Internal documents obtained by PETA reveal that in one recent eight-month period, the federally funded center, including its breeding facility in Arizona, had to treat a staggering 332 traumatic injuries (such as broken limbs and teeth), more than 200 cases of gastrointestinal problems, 149 cases of significant weight loss, 19 cases of rectal prolapse, and a dozen implant abnormalities.

It doesn’t end there.

A monkey who was used in a painful procedure was given an analgesic that had been diluted, likely resulting in inadequate pain relief. A drug cabinet had been left unlocked, and it appears that someone at the primate center had been diverting the opioid.

Then there are the escapes.

PETA has obtained documents showing multiple monkey escapes at the WaNPRC, including ones that have gone unreported to authorities. In the latest episode, a monkey who was missing for at least two days was found trapped in a tunnel cage, dehydrated and hungry. What disciplinary action did UW take against the center because of this? None.

In response to PETA’s complaint filled with damning evidence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is now investigating the WaNPRC for multiple animal welfare violations as well as conflicts of interest on UW’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which is supposed to ensure that all animal protection laws are enforced in the school’s laboratories. (One of its “nonscientific” members happens to be the executive director of the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, which promotes animal experimentation.)

photo of monkey in lab

Monkeys are intelligent, sensitive animals who live in tight-knit groups and forage over large home ranges. In contrast, those imprisoned at the WaNPRC are held in dark, mostly underground rooms, where they live in small steel cages the size of a kitchen cabinet. Experimenters have subjected them to total-body irradiation, infection with the deadly Ebola virus, separation from their mothers at birth, insertion of electrodes into their brains, and more.

No marketable cures or vaccines for humans have resulted from this torment, which has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the past six decades.

Six years ago, Harvard University closed its national primate research center after assessing the facility’s multiple animal welfare violations and the failure of experiments on monkeys.

Over the past year, PETA has contacted UW and its board of regents about the disturbing issues at the WaNPRC and has heard nothing but denials. Now we need you to tell the members to follow Harvard’s example.

Board of Regents
UW Board of Regents

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