The Primate Protection and Research Modernization Act, which was introduced at the end of the last session of Congress, would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to convene a standing committee to assess proposals for new nonhuman primate research. The standing committee would be barred from approving any nonhuman primate research unless:
- the research is for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of debilitating or life-threatening clinical conditions in human beings;
- no alternative research method exists; and
- the nonhuman primates will be housed in an ethologically appropriate environment.
In addition, the National Academy of Sciences would be required to conduct a systematic review for each preexisting field of research in which nonhuman primates are used to determine whether that field of research has an established history of advancing that field of research and whether nonhuman primate research has resulted in meaningful clinical interventions.
This legislation would serve as a necessary check to the current rampant expansion in the use of nonhuman primates for research.
Senator Cory Booker (NJ), the original sponsor of this bill, has not yet introduced the legislation this session. It is much needed as the number of nonhuman primates used for research has escalated sharply now that chimpanzees are no longer available for invasive research purposes. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 57,735 nonhuman primates were used for research. In 2017, the most recent year available, 75,825 nonhuman primates were used, an increase of more than 1,800 animals per year.
Please ask your U.S. Senator to consider introducing or sponsoring the Primate Protection and Research Modernization Act in 2019.