Caring for Our Animals

Caring for Our Animals
Nursing an infant Rhesus Macaque

The Oregon National Primate Research Center's (ONPRC's) contributions to biomedical research rely on scientific integrity, a commitment to innovative research, and ultimately a fundamental respect for life.  Our animals are crucial to discovering more effective and accessible vaccines, treatments, and cures for a myriad of devastating human and animal diseases.  We recognize the ethical questions raised by animal research, which is why we provide humane and compassionate animal care while conserving our resources for only the most essential research endeavors.

Animal Resources & Research Support is responsible for all aspects of animal care and is committed to preserving the health and welfare of ONPRC's nonhuman primates (NHPs).  Our dedicated staff members provide veterinary care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; ensure our NHPs are provided nutritionally balanced meals, daily fresh produce, and behavioral enrichment activities; and maintain clean, safe environments.  We maintain one of the largest specific pathogen-free colonies of rhesus macaques in the country. 

ONPRC's adherence to stringent state and federal regulations is strengthened by its independent internal and external oversight.  The Center is inspected biannually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and provides annual reports to the National Institute of Health via the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.  ONPRC is particularly proud of the fact that it has maintained accreditation for more than 48 consecutive years by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), International.  AAALACi, is a voluntary inspection and accreditation program that promotes standards which often exceed government regulatory requirements.

Our monkeys

The Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) is home to approximately 5,000 nonhuman primates (NHPs), including a variety of macaques (Rhesus, Japanese, and Cynomolgus) and a small number of baboons and squirrel monkeys.  The vast majority of our NHPs are rhesus macaques.

The founding troop of rhesus macaques, whose natural range is from northern India to northern China, was brought to Brown University in the 1950's and transferred to Oregon in 1964.It is no exaggeration to say they are essential to our ability to find cures for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, obesity/diabetes, and dozens of other diseases that cause human suffering and death.

In 1964, the government of Japan donated a troop of 46 Japanese macaques to the Center for conservation purposes—they were threatened by deforestation and by farmers who treated them as pests—so that scientists could study their behavior and social organization. The colony is also an irreplaceable reservoir of natural models relevant to research in multiple sclerosis, age-related macular degeneration, and Batten disease.

ONPRC also has baboons which are part of a contraceptive development program, or a heart disease study focusing on hemostasis and blood coagulation mechanisms. A small number of squirrel monkeys are also housed on site and utilized for studies exploring somatosensory information processing.

Frequently Asked Questions