April 23, 2013
Harvard Medical School Applauded for Decision to Close Primate Research Center by 2015
The Harvard Medical School announced that the New England Primate Research Center will close by 2015. The university cited funding issues as well as a shift in priorities as reasons for the decision. Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues at The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement:
“Harvard’s decision to close the New England Primate Research Center is a significant, positive development. As an organization, we advocate for better investment of research dollars. Moving away from the use of these highly intelligent animals is another step in that right direction. Our government should prioritize alternatives that will provide better, faster and more relevant results for human health, such as the organ-on-a-chip technology being developed at Harvard’s own Wyss Institute.”
The primate center, which currently houses approximately 2,000 monkeys, including rhesus macaques, crab-eating macaques, common marmosets, squirrel monkeys and cotton top tamarins has had its share of controversy. The center was previously cited for numerous Animal Welfare Act violations since June 2010 that resulted in the death of four primates and compromised the welfare of numerous other animals. The string of violations led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open an investigation.