The power of pressure from PETA has proved itself yet again.
We pushed for Deepak Kaushal’s removal as director of the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC) in Texas, after federal authorities ruled that he had lied about data on a monkey experiment.
And today, Kaushal is no longer head of the SNPRC.
An investigation by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found Kaushal guilty of “intentionally, knowingly, and/or recklessly falsifying and fabricating” data from a monkey experiment in a published work and on grant applications. Despite this misconduct, the ORI recommended simply that Kaushal’s work be supervised. However, we weren’t standing for that. PETA released the investigative findings widely and demanded Kaushal’s removal. Now, he’s still on the federally funded primate center’s staff, for the moment anyway, but he’s no longer running the facility.
The experiment in question involved infecting monkeys with tuberculosis, treating them with a combination of drugs, and then infecting them with simian immunodeficiency virus, which has failed as a surrogate model for HIV infection and leads to severe, painful symptoms. At the end of the experiment, the monkeys were killed.
SNPRC a Repeat Offender
Research misconduct isn’t the only problem at the SNPRC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed), which runs the SNPRC, nearly $26,000 for repeatedly allowing primates to escape from cages and injure themselves and others, including humans.
In 2021, 159 baboons suffered from painful frostbite so severe that their fingers, toes, or tails had to be amputated because the SNPRC had failed to protect them during a winter storm. Primates kept there have also been strangled by door cables and burned by exposed pipes.
Despite all these issues, Texas Biomed has received more than $102 million in taxpayer funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2020.
What You Can Do
Please urge your members of Congress to mandate that NIH stop wasting taxpayer dollars on useless animal experiments like the one Kaushal lied about and instead focus on modern, non-animal methods of research.