Monkey lab in hot water

The largest primate facility in the US is drawing fire after an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States produced video footage of alleged animal welfare violations at the center. A Humane Society investigator spent nine months in 2007 and 2008 videotaping alleged abuses at the linkurl:New Iberia Research Center,;http://nirc.louisiana.edu/index.html which is administered by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The facility houses more than 6,000 primates, including rhesus m

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Mar 4, 2009
The largest primate facility in the US is drawing fire after an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States produced video footage of alleged animal welfare violations at the center. A Humane Society investigator spent nine months in 2007 and 2008 videotaping alleged abuses at the linkurl:New Iberia Research Center,;http://nirc.louisiana.edu/index.html which is administered by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The facility houses more than 6,000 primates, including rhesus macaques and several hundred chimpanzees, on a sprawling 100-acre site in rural Louisiana. On its website, the Humane Society has posted linkurl:clips of the video footage;https://community.hsus.org/campaign/FED_2009_apeprotectionact?source=gabhie that show monkeys with open wounds, chimps being sedated with dart guns and falling from their perches onto the floor, and other apparent violations of the linkurl:Animal Welfare Act,;http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/awa.htm which sets forth standards of care for animals used in research, exhibitions, or as pets. Primates at the New Iberia Center are used in...
eged animal welfare violations at the center. A Humane Society investigator spent nine months in 2007 and 2008 videotaping alleged abuses at the linkurl:New Iberia Research Center,;http://nirc.louisiana.edu/index.html which is administered by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The facility houses more than 6,000 primates, including rhesus macaques and several hundred chimpanzees, on a sprawling 100-acre site in rural Louisiana. On its website, the Humane Society has posted linkurl:clips of the video footage;https://community.hsus.org/campaign/FED_2009_apeprotectionact?source=gabhie that show monkeys with open wounds, chimps being sedated with dart guns and falling from their perches onto the floor, and other apparent violations of the linkurl:Animal Welfare Act,;http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/awa.htm which sets forth standards of care for animals used in research, exhibitions, or as pets. Primates at the New Iberia Center are used in studies funded by the National Institutes of Health as well as for pharmaceutical company contract work. A search of the CRISP database, which lists NIH grant recipients, indicates that the university center has gotten at least 15 separate grants, most for the development of research colonies of chimps and macaques, since 2000. linkurl:Richard Bribiescas,;http://www.yale.edu/anthro/people/rbribiescas.html a Yale anthropologist who has collaborated with New Iberia researchers on primate hormone linkurl:studies,;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18973242?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum told __The Scientist__ that he is surprised by the reports of abuse coming from the center. "I'm quite surprised because the people that I do communicate with down there seem to be very committed to animal welfare," he said. Bribiescas, who has never been to the facility personally but has collaborated with researchers there in the past, added that he will suspend any judgement of the facility until a thorough investigation has been completed to insure that the recent reports do not represent an "isolated incident." In 2006, University of Louisiana at Lafayette researchers published a linkurl:study;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16995645?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum in the __Journal of the American Association of Lab Animal Science__ on how outdoor housing reduced self-biting and other self-injurious behaviors in adult male macaques with histories of such problems. The Humane Society has alleged 328 potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act in a complaint issued to the US Department of Agriculture. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, told linkurl:__Science__Insider;http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/03/university-of-l.html that "A major issue for us is the psychological deprivation and torment that these animals are enduring," but the organization did not detail the specific violations outlined in the complaint. __Science__Insider also reports that the Humane Society has provided evidence that the New Iberia Center received an NIH grant of more than $6 million to provide the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with several infant chimpanzees, which would violate the NIH's own moratorium on breeding chimps for biomedical research. According to __ABC News__, which broke the linkurl:story;http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=6997869&page=1 on the reports of abuse at New Iberia, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is ordering "a thorough investigation of animal welfare practices at the New Iberia Research Center."
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Do Chimps Have Culture?;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53392/
[August 2007]*linkurl:NIH stops chimp breeding;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53270/
[5th June 2007]

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