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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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A Demographic Analysis of Primate Research in the United States


Kathleen M. Conlee, Erika H. Hoffeld and Martin L. Stephens

An analysis of primate research in the USA, including the number and species of non-human primates used, types of research, levels of invasiveness, housing conditions and funding, is an important step in addressing various concerns (ethical and scientific) surrounding primate research. An analysis of monkey and chimpanzee research, conducted by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), demonstrated that the USA uses more non-human primates (including great apes) in research per year, than any other country in the world. The US government devotes approximately $575–800 million per year to primate research and care. Chimpanzees are most commonly used for hepatitis research; monkeys are most commonly used for HIV research, and other research areas include vaccine and drug testing, cognition, human pathologies/diseases, drug abuse and xenotransplantation. Legislation (including great ape research bans), media attention and proposed increased primate use also contribute to the overall picture of current and future non-human primate research in the USA and throughout the world. The HSUS proposes that cost–benefit analyses of non-human primate research in the USA be conducted to properly assess “value added” to relevant fields of research and whether the use of non-human primates is the only, or most effective, strategy for biomedical progress. Finally, The HSUS proposes a ban on the use of apes in research in the USA and worldwide.