Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Growing number of primates used in US laboratories

Posted: 30 August 2019. Updated: 30 August 2019

Ahead of International Primate Day on September 1, Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on Congress to take a stand against the high, and growing, number of primates used in research by supporting advanced, human-relevant research methods and a phase-out of primate use.

According to the latest (2017) figures, 75,825 nonhuman primates were used in US laboratories, an increase of more than 6% over 2016. Also in 2017, a total of 21,861 primates were imported into the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, and Quarantine and Border Health Services Branch.

Most of the imported primates (20,110) were long-tailed macaques, one of the most commonly used species in research.

ADI has conducted investigations of primate suppliers around the world. At Biodia, a key breeding facility in Mauritius – one of the world’s largest suppliers – ADI footage showed baby monkeys being torn from their screaming mothers to be tattooed, pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down, and monkeys swung by their tails. At supplier Nafovanny in Vietnam, ADI filmed monkeys living in deplorable conditions, with some animals confined to small rusting cages that were in a state of collapse.

In US laboratories, many primates will be used for regulatory safety testing of substances. For such tests, primates will typically endure force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds and full body immobilization in restraint chairs during experiments. Side effects can include rectal prolapse, vomiting, blocked lungs, collapse, self-mutilation, and death.

Due to species differences, tests on primates and other animals have been shown to produce misleading results – replacing methods using primates with more sophisticated human-based techniques provides results that are more relevant to people.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Given the known species differences between primates and humans, we should be moving toward more advanced, human-relevant research methods, not using greater numbers of primates in research. If, like ADI, you think this is unacceptable, please join our call to Congress for primate tests to be phased out.”

Supporting measures to accelerate a “move away from animal models toward more human-relevant research methods”, nearly one hundred (96) academics, scientists, institutions, companies, organizations, and celebrities have signed up to the Declaration for Advanced Science. Signatories of the Declaration, which was launched earlier this year by ADI, include Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Marc Bekoff; Professor of Pharmaceutical Analysis Laura Waters; Consultant Haematologist Dr Shireen Kassam; Microbiologist Dr Warren Casey; Senior Cell and Molecular Biologist Dr Pelin L Candarlioglu; Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics Andrew Knight; and Emerita Professor of Anthropology Barbara King. The full and current list of signatories can be viewed here.

Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell said: I support Animal Defenders International and a move toward methods of research that are kinder and far more relevant to humans, and I hope others will too.”

Media contact:
Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director: (323) 935-2234/(323) 804-9920, or

© Animal Defenders International 2019