Problem statement: The New England Antivivisectionist Society filed a petition with the USDA requesting that the Secretary of Agriculture exercise his authority under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) “to promulgate clear standards and definitions to promote the psychological well-being and appropriate environment for primates in research.” They justify this request by stating that, “a lack of concrete, measurable, and enforceable definitions and criteria within the regulations has resulted in almost no meaningful regulation of the psychological well-being of primates used in research, and a lack of congruent application across facilities.” To address some of the misinformation in the petition a survey was conducted of those institutions housing NHPs to determine how the animals are currently being housed.
Description of research: Using the USDA data base of Annual Reports submitted by research facilities, those housing NHPs in FY2013 were identified. A variety of association databases were then used to identify contacts at those institutions and a survey was sent to them. The survey instrument was modeled on the one conducted by the USDA's Animal Care division in 2000 and 2001, and a follow-up survey conducted by the author in 2010 as part of a presentation at the annual APV workshop. The current survey will collect data on five housing scenarios for each of the USDA six housing groups. The 2014 data will be compared with the data from the previous USDA survey to document the changes in social housing of NHPs in research facilities.
Additional information: The survey instrument and contact list has been developed and will be introduced at the 2014 APV Workshop, which precedes the AALAS meeting in San Antonio, TX. Surveys will be e-mailed to the identified contacts in mid-November with a submission date of December 15, 2014.