Buckling to pressure from the National Primate Research Centers, who continue to claim a shortage of monkeys for COVID-19 research, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has appropriated $30 million for increasing primate research in the 2022 budget.
Congress has yet to approve this increase, which amounts to 27% more than the previous year. It’s imperative that Congress hears from the public to oppose this indefensible funding. Please send your polite letter today.
In contrast to the falsehoods being pushed by the primate centers, monkeys are not essential for COVID-19 research. In fact, due to vast differences in genetics and physiology, primates do not experience COVID-19 as humans do.
With the urgency imposed by the pandemic, key vaccine developers Pfizer and Moderna were given approval to run human trials ahead of normally required animal testing. The result was that vaccines for COVID-19 were developed and made accessible to the public in record time, with less animal testing than ever before.
In bypassing animal testing to evaluate the vaccines, the scientific community acknowledged that these tests are not scientifically predictive of human response, but rather are based on regulatory requirements that are a hindrance to rapidly developing safe and effective treatments.
The primate centers are pushing for this $30 million increase, claiming a scarcity of primates for research. Yet, records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show this is patently false.
In 2019 there were 40,269 monkeys held “on reserve,” in addition to the 68,256 monkeys subjected to experiments. Not only were over 40,000 monkeys warehoused “on hold” for use in experiments, but that number is a 14% increase from 2018, clearly demonstrating a growing surplus – not a shortage – of monkeys.
In addition, the National Primate Centers have a long and disgraceful record of serious animal welfare violations. Monkeys have died due to unsatisfactory housing, inadequate veterinary care and outright negligence that demonstrate the Primate Centers’ inability to care for tens of thousands of monkeys. Expanding them is unjustifiable on scientific or welfare grounds.
The request to increase primate funding is not backed by 21st century science. Human-based knowledge and research is enabling prompt and vital advancements to treat COVID-19, not inhumane animal experiments that do not replicate human physiology.
Please tell Congress to vote against increasing funding for inhumane and scientifically inferior primate experiments.
Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to highlight and promote research without animals.
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