The debate in Washington over how to fix our nation’s economy can sometimes seem very far away, but recently it was brought to ARFF’s attention that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been a disaster for monkeys.
The $787 billion stimulus bill, approved by Congress in February 2009, is funding a dizzying variety of projects in Florida: to computerize health records, provide benefits for the unemployed, repair dams and build bridges, prevent wildfires, etc. The Recovery Act provided billions of dollars to federal agencies to distribute. The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded 933 contracts, grants and loans in Florida. Five of those contracts, totaling $1,695,672, were awarded to Primate Products, Inc. to acquire, house and transport monkeys.
For example, Primate Products was awarded a $351,800 contract in September 2010 to provide 72 macaque monkeys from the Philippines to the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana. The monkeys will be used in a study of the human influenza virus. As of March 31, the animals had arrived in the USA and cleared quarantine, but had not yet been shipped to Montana.
Also in September 2010, Primate Products was awarded a contract worth $185,760 to provide 18 macaque monkeys, six African green monkeys, six squirrel monkeys and six marmosets to laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland.
Regardless of how you feel about the federal stimulus bill, you should be angry that one of the federal government’s responses to an economic crisis is to support cruel, wasteful animal research.
The Recovery Act created a “Accountability and Transparency Board” to prevent and detect fraud, waste, or abuse related to stimulus funding. Contact the Board and urge them, in light of Primate Products history of poor animal care and reckless decisions that have led to animal suffering (click here for details), to keep a close eye on Primate Products. Click here for information on how to contact the Board.