Washington State Bill Introduced to Require Transparency at Troubled UW Primate Center

For Immediate Release:
January 19, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Olympia, Wash. – State representatives have just introduced a landmark bill that would require transparency at the publicly funded University of Washington (UW) Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC), which has received hundreds of millions of tax dollars in the past 10 years alone.

The Publicly funded Research Involving Monkeys needs Accountability, Transparency, and Engagement (PRIMATE) Act, HB 2304, would require that the WaNPRC publish data annually on the number and species of primates in its facilities, how they’re used in experimentation, injuries and deaths, unintended infections and illnesses, violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, public funding received, and the composition of oversight committees and boards.

The bill, which PETA supports, was introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives last week by Reps. Gerry Pollet and Julia Reed and seven cosponsors, and the Senate’s companion bill, SB 6221, was introduced by Sen. Jesse Salomon and cosponsors Sens. Derek Stanford, Patty Kuderer, T’wina Nobles, and Marko Liias. Last year, a similar bill was passed in Oregon requiring transparency by the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University. Both the Oregon and Washington primate centers have long histories of animal welfare violations.

“This very reasonable legislation simply requires that the publicly funded primate center share critical information about where the monkeys come from and what happens to them,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “Monkeys at the primate center have died from starvation, dehydration, veterinary error, and unintended diseases—and taxpayers have the right to know what their money is funding.”

A monkey caged at the WaNPRC. Image obtained by PETA via the Washington State Public Records Act

The primate center is currently under investigation by the Washington State Department of Health for the death of a monkey during a botched procedure. UW has violated federal animal welfare laws and regulations dozens of times, including by allowing a monkey’s strangulation death. Veterinary errors have caused deaths of monkeys at the primate center, and dangerous diseases transmissible to humans have infected monkeys at the university’s breeding facility. In 2022, a judge ordered UW to pay more than $540,000 in penalties, fees, and interest for destroying records related to the WaNPRC’s experiments on monkeys and for withholding records regarding financial and leadership crises and animal deaths.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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