For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
San Antonio – Deepak Kaushal, former director of the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC), has been removed from his leadership position following a finding by federal authorities that he repeatedly lied about data from a study involving monkeys.
An August 2022 investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found Kaushal guilty of “intentionally, knowingly, and/or recklessly falsifying and fabricating” data from a monkey study in published work and on grant applications. Despite this, the ORI recommended simply that Kaushal’s work be supervised. PETA had released the investigation findings widely, after Retraction Watch broke the story, and demanded Kaushal’s removal.
The study 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 and painful symptoms. The monkeys were killed at the end of the experiment.
For now, Kaushal has been demoted to a nonleadership position, but he remains at the SNPRC.
“We’re relieved that Deepak Kaushal is no longer running the show, but he has been exposed as a fraud and should be fired,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “He has tormented and killed monkeys, lied about research results, and obtained funds under false pretenses. This man is not serving science but his own career advancement.”
Research misconduct isn’t the only problem at the SNPRC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Texas Biomedical Research Institute, which hosts 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 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 this, Texas Biomed has received more than $102 million in taxpayer funds from the National Institutes of Health since 2020.
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 newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.