For Immediate Release:
July 6, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – In a major victory for animals, PETA has just learned that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has stopped funding two discredited foreign animal experimenters at the center of an 18-month PETA investigation.
The unprecedented move follows PETA’s recent report of a leaked letter showing that NIH invited the organization, Caucaseco Scientific Research Center, to submit a plan to move its experiments to another country and continue to receive millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars—after Colombian authorities filed formal charges against the organization and seized the animals in its possession.
Caucaseco’s lab was shut down, and more than 100 monkeys and 180 mice were seized following PETA’s investigation that exposed monkeys kept in filthy, makeshift cages covered with a tarp and other violations of Colombian law and NIH policy. Caucaseco and the Malaria Vaccine and Development Center have received $17 million in NIH funding.
In a May 4 letter to Caucaseco, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases directed the husband-and-wife team of Sócrates Herrera and Myriam Arévalo, who head the laboratory, to come up with a new plan to continue receiving funding from the agency. Part of that plan, according to the letter, might include moving at least a portion of the organization to Brazil, Panama, or Peru because it “does not seem possible that animal studies (at least the non-human primate studies) will be resumed” in Colombia, following the raid of the decrepit facility and the seizure of all the animals held there.
“After PETA revealed NIH’s plan to enable known animal abusers to move shop and continue their pointless monkey torment, the agency has finally done the right thing and pulled its funding,” says Dr. Magnolia Martínez, lead projects manager with PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. “PETA is calling on NIH to stop funding all foreign animal experimentation, which it has no way of ensuring complies with local laws or NIH requirements.”
A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that between 2011 and 2021, NIH gave around $2.2 billion to approximately 200 foreign organizations to fund 1,177 grants and 180 contracts involving experiments on animals. Those taxpayer dollars went to Colombia and 44 other countries. The agency has no oversight mechanisms for foreign organizations that receive American taxpayer money and doesn’t ensure that laboratories outside the U.S. comply with local laws or NIH requirements.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.