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20 - 11 - 2018

USA: an increase in the number of primates used in research

The number of primates used in the US for research has increased from less than 60,000 animals in 2014 to nearly 76,000 animals in 2017. Two-thirds are Rhesus macaques, 15% are Cynomolgus macaques and 6% are baboons. In the same period, the number of dogs and guinea pigs increased slightly and that of cats and rabbits decreased.

 

 

 

 

The National Institute of Health (NIH) funds a large portion of the primate studies in the US (249 in 2017 versus 171 in 2013) as well as breeding to meet the needs of research. However some research has had to be delayed for 6 months due to lack of animals available.

 

 

 

 

 

The NIH explains in a report "Nonhuman Primate Evaluation and Analysis" published in September 2018, that primates are critical animal models in several areas of research such as infectious diseases, cognition, behavior, reproduction, regenerative medicine, aging and neuroscience. The report expects that there will be an increased need for primates from breeding facilities for the next five years.

 

This increase in the number of primates used is a good illustration of the difficulty that research has in meeting the public's hopes for new treatments while reducing the use of animals. Non-animal methods are multiplying and giving more and more information which allows the acceleration of the research, but animal models are still very largely irreplaceable when it comes to the study of an entire living organism.