Primates in Animal Studies
On this page we provide whatever data we can get our hands on pertaining to the housing and use of nonhuman primates in the United States. Some data are difficult to come by. For example, data pertaining to the number of nonhuman primates kept as pets can only be guessed at because reporting mechanisms continue to be weak in many states. Data are available, however, for the numbers of nonhuman primates used in research. They are discussed below.
An overview of non-human primates living in research facilities in the United States
Despite the removal of most USDA Animal Welfare Reports from its website, the USDA APHIS posted their Animal Usage Reports by Research Facilities for 2016 in June 2017. We have parsed the data into a comprehensive report below.
In 2016, 109,821 nonhuman primates resided in US research facilities.
That's an increase over 2015's 105,584.
Massachusetts, the state in which we are located, has returned to housing the 3rd largest population of nonhuman primates in the United States, despite the fact that a major primate research center closed its doors in May of 2014. There are 11,744 monkeys living in our research facilities, a significant increase over 2015's 8,840. Massachusetts houses just 108 more NHPs (nonhuman primates) than those held in Louisiana, the 2nd greatest population of NHPs in the US.
In an effort to make it a bit less complicated, we parsed the numbers and below you will find a list of the numbers of nonhuman primates in U.S. research facilities sorted by state from the greatest number to the least number in 2015 and 2016.
The rows highlighted in red indicate the top 10 states with the greatest numbers of nonhuman primates living in their research facilities.
You can view your state's standing below:
How the reports are categorized
Each USDA-registered research facility is required by the Animal Welfare Act to submit an Annual Report that documents its use of animals for research, testing, teaching and/or experimentation. Thus it is essentially self-monitoring. As a result, the numbers reported may not be all inclusive as some research facilities might not have reported in time for publication. The USDA APHIS reports can be found here. Scroll down to Animal Usage by Research Facilities, by Year.
USDA Animal Care compiles these numbers and produces 5 reports annually. Each report is based on a specific pain category, designated by a particular column on the Annual Report. The report categories are:
The Column F includes the total number of animals reportedly USED in research that year. It does not include Column B animals, i.e. those that are held in research facilities but are not actively involved in studies at this time. To determine the total number of animals research facilities during that year, the totals in Column B must be combined with those in Column F. We've done that for you in our spreadsheet below specific to nonhuman primates in US research facilities.
Now, for the complete picture about animals in research, keep reading...
Animals Used in Research in the United States
QUICK AND DIRTY SUMMARY for 2016
What is NOT in the reports
The Animal Welfare Act only covers warm-blooded species,and not including birds, rats, and mice that are bred for research, despite the fact that they constitute 90-95% of the animals used in research.
Those unreported numbers, whatever they may be, must be added to the totals reported in each year's reports to know the true number of animals used in research. But that's still not the whole story.
The Animal Welfare Act, and therefore the Animal Usage Reports, also excludes cold-blooded animals, such as fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Thus an additional unknown unreported number of animals must be added to the report to have a full account.
In addition, the Animal Welfare Act, and therefore the Annual Usage Report, excludes farmed animals raised for food or fiber or used in agricultural research, such as cows and pigs. So the pigs, sheep, and other farm animals quoted in the USDA annual reports are used for some other research purposes, whether surgical studies, biomedical studies, or... whatever.
There are unreported numbers of farmed animals being studied for consumption and agriculture. This came under scrutiny in a January 19, 2015 New York Times expose, with a resulting bill being introduced on February 5, 2015 to protect animals in these ghastly livestock studies.
The point is that the numbers reflected in the Animal Welfare Reports do not reflect the true total numbers. The numbers of animals in research facilities far exceed the numbers reported.
Thus, the 958,256 animals in research facilities in 2016 may, in actuality, only be about 10% (or less) of the actual numbers of animals in research facilities for that year.
That places the real number in the many millions. How is this okay?
A note about the availability of USDA reports as of February 2017
Update: March 22, 2018
13 months ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blacked out a public data base containing thousands of animal welfare inspection reports, as well as records of enforcement actions that USDA took against violators of the Animal Welfare Act, including research facilities.
Months later, the agency began posting the inspection reports again, but in a redacted form that critics said made the records much harder to analyze.
Now, Congress is telling USDA that it isn’t happy about the situation, and is ordering the agency to clean up its act and make the database more user-friendly.
As of February 3, 2017, most animals welfare reports were removed from the USDA APHIS website with this note:
Please Note: APHIS is committed to ensuring the welfare of regulated animals and continues to carry out the critical day-to-day work of ensuring the humane treatment of vulnerable animals through unannounced inspections, pre-compliance visits, horse protection inspections, and other activities.
APHIS, during the past year, has conducted a comprehensive review of the information it posts on its website for the general public to view. To conduct the review, the entire agency search tool database, along with additional documents, was taken off line. As a result of this review, APHIS has removed certain personal information from APHIS’ website involving the Horse Protection Act and the Animal Welfare Act. APHIS recently reposted certain inspection reports and research facility annual reports that were determined to be appropriate for reposting. Once a month, we also publicly post a list of our licensees/registrants that are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act. Here is the link. On that webpage, please click on List of Persons Licensed or Registered under the AWA to see the up-to-date list. Finally, some enforcement records (such as initial decision and orders, default decisions, and consent decisions) continue to be available on the USDA’s Office of Administrative Law Judge’s website.
The agency will continue to review records and determine which information is appropriate for reposting. Those seeking information from APHIS regarding inspection reports not currently posted to the website, regulatory correspondence, and enforcement related matters may submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for that information. FOIA requests can be submitted here: https://efoia-pal.usda.gov/palMain.aspx. Records will be released when authorized and in a manner consistent with the FOIA and Privacy Act. Also, consistent with recent amendments to the FOIA, if the same records are frequently requested records under the FOIA, and are subject to release under the FOIA and Privacy Act, APHIS will post the appropriately redacted versions to its website.
2016 Research Animals
Now add 23,216 "other farm animals.
PLUS add 202,840 animals categorized as "all other covered species."
This total - 958,256 individuals - may only represent 10% (or less) of the actual number of animals in research facilities for the year. See "What is NOT covered in the reports" to learn about the many species not reflected in these reports.