Feds Investigating UW Primate Center After PETA Complaints

For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


After PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over systemic, acute animal suffering, disease issues, and violations of state law at the federally funded University of Washington’s Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare has launched an investigation into the facility.

PETA demanded action after a scathing exposé in The Arizona Republic revealed that the WaNPRC and its breeding facility in Mesa, Arizona, sent diseased monkeys to experimenters at Seattle and across the country. The article reveals that the WaNPRC violated animal health and importation regulations, operated its Arizona breeding facility without state oversight, failed to prevent the introduction and spread of deadly diseases among monkeys, and has been repeatedly cited for multiple violations of animal welfare laws—all while breeding monkeys next to a toxic waste site.

“Even the most cursory investigation reveals that there’s something rotten at the WaNPRC, and science and the monkeys are suffering because of it,” says PETA primate scientist and former WaNPRC researcher Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “PETA is calling on feds to stop funding this laboratory and its breeding facility. It is time to end the animal suffering and embark on a new era of scientific rigor.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—welcomes the investigation but notes that NIH officials have known about the problems at the WaNPRC for years and have continued to use taxpayer dollars to fund experiments that its own scientists acknowledge were tainted by the unintended infections ravaging the monkeys.

In addition to contracting infections resulting from exposure to fungus in the soil and pathogens transmitted in feces, monkeys at the WaNPRC have strangled, died of thirst, been mauled by other animals, and choked to death on their own vomit. Internal documents obtained by PETA reveal that in one recent eight-month period, the center had to treat a staggering 332 traumatic injuries.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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