NIH Under Fire From PETA for Renewing Multimillion-Dollar Grant to Dysfunctional Primate Center

For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA called on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to investigate the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) review process following the agency’s award of a nearly $13 million annual infrastructure grant to the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) at the University of Washington (UW)—in addition to tens of millions of dollars in 2022 to fund experiments on monkeys. NIH was aware of the facility’s admitted destruction of data, appalling and unexplained primate death rate, and multiple violations of animal protection laws and state health and veterinary regulations in addition to rampant disease and toxic waste exposures at its breeding facility in Arizona.

In October, PETA provided Becerra with evidence of unethical and illegal actions by the WaNPRC that have endangered primate and public health, as documented by state and federal agencies as well as UW’s own records and testimony.

“If violations of the law, destruction of data, failure to prevent zoonotic disease outbreaks, and monkeys who died of starvation aren’t enough for NIH to pull funding for the primate center, the future of American research is doomed,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on Secretary Becerra to launch an investigation into why NIH is funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into an operation with a demonstrable history of animal mistreatment, public endangerment, and illegal acts.”

In December, the King County Superior Court in Washington held the primate center liable in civil litigation brought by PETA based on its failure to turn over videos and photographs of monkeys. In a series of shocking under-oath admissions, the former director and experimenters there described routinely deleting data, making it impossible for UW to comply with not only the Public Records Act but also, apparently, the university’s own records retention duties as the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-supported funding from NIH.

A damning exposé by The Arizona Republic revealed that the WaNPRC and its breeding facility sent diseased monkeys to experimenters across the country and failed to prevent the introduction and spread of deadly diseases among monkeys. PETA obtained records showing that the center failed to comply with state laws requiring that monkeys harboring certain pathogens be reported.

Additional information about UW and the WaNPRC’s lengthy history of documented violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act is available here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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