You’d be excused if you had never heard of Northern Biomedical Research. As a contract laboratory performing a variety of painful and deadly experiments on animals for numerous customers, the company likes to conduct its nasty business in the shadows.
But when PETA revealed the scalpel-for-hire’s Michigan laboratory as the epicenter of a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak among wild-caught monkeys imported from overseas, we also discovered this: Northern Biomedical torments and kills animals for profit. That’s their business model.
If you have a fat enough checkbook and need someone to force-feed an experimental compound to an imprisoned animal or if you need a beagle’s lungs dissected, Northern Biomedical is happy to help.
The company experimented on 866 primates, 236 dogs, and 10 pigs just last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2022 annual report. Northern Biomedical also brags that it has the capacity to hold 2,500 rats and mice, who aren’t covered by federal animal welfare protections.
Business is so good that it has recently purchased property—appropriately, the former site of a state prison—in the city of Muskegon, 5 miles north of its current home in Norton Shores. The purchase will double Northern Biomedical’s size, according to media reports.
Behind Closed Doors
Northern Biomedical has good reason to keep its business quiet. For instance, the gavage (force-feeding) procedure depicted below is among its staples.
(This video footage was not taken at Northern Biomedical Research, but it illustrates the violent gavage process.)
In one experiment, Northern Biomedical injected beagles with a heartworm prevention formula, caged them in a laboratory for a year, and infected them with heartworm. Five months later, the dogs were killed and their hearts and lungs were removed and dissected to see if they had heartworm.
A simple blood test would have determined whether the parasite was present.
In another experiment, Northern Biomedical injected monkeys with a solution through a spinal tap every two weeks for eight weeks. Then the monkeys were killed, and their brains and spinal cords were removed and dissected.
The Feds Cite Incompetence
Federal inspectors have cited Northern Biomedical experimenters for failing to comply with the minimum standards of care outlined in federal guidelines.
A monkey was burned while being subjected to an MRI procedure, according to an inspection report from August 2022, but it took three days for experimenters to even notice. The burns were so extensive that the animal had to be euthanized several days later.
PETA uncovered documents, as MLive reported, revealing that at least three of the imported, wild-caught monkeys at Northern Biomedical had tested positive for TB and other monkeys are under quarantine. Two humans in that lab also tested positive for TB and were referred for treatment, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.
What You Can Do
PETA has warned government officials about the danger of disease outbreaks among imported monkeys for months. Not only is confining hundreds of monkeys in crowded, unnatural conditions abusive, it also inevitably spreads diseases and confounds research.
The solution is simple: End the international trade in primates for laboratory use.
Please take action by telling the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ban the reckless, cruel importation of monkeys into the U.S. permanently.