Frequently Asked Questions

Are all of the Center's nonhuman primates socially housed? 
The vast majority of our nonhuman primate population is socially housed. Attempts are made to socially house indoor animals whenever possible. All nonhuman primates at the Oregon National Primate Research Center are housed in visual and auditory contact with other nonhuman primates.

How are the nonhuman primates housed? 
The Oregon National Primate Research Center provides social interaction for all nonhuman primates, except when concerns about animal health and well-being or experimental needs would make social housing impossible.

The Center pioneered social housing of nonhuman primates in the 1970s, when it constructed several 1-2 acre, outdoor corrals for groups of 100-150 monkeys.

In the mid-1990s, after completing a 10-year project of creating a pathogen-free colony of monkeys that is unmatched anywhere in the world, the Center initiated efforts to increase social housing, including an ambitious program of constructing new and innovative group housing facilities. At the same time, it began converting existing single cages to pair cages and training a large number of singly housed monkeys to live compatibly with companions. The Oregon National Primate Research Center continues to socially house nonhuman primates in pairs or groups unless prohibited by medical concerns or research requirements.

How many nonhuman primates are at the Center? 
The current census lists about 5,000 nonhuman primates, the majority of which are rhesus macaques. We also house approximately 330 Japanese macaques and small numbers of other species (cynomolgus macaques, squirrel monkeys and baboons).

Where do the nonhuman primates come from? 
An outdoor breeding program ensures that the Oregon National Primate Research Center nonhuman primate population is nearly self-sustaining. The original colony of rhesus macaques, numbering 400, came from India. Some animals have been imported from international breeding programs located in other countries, such as Cambodia and the Republic of China, but any animals not bred at the Center have been purchased from domestic facilities for the last several years.

Who cares for the animals? 
The Division of Comparative Medicine veterinarians, veterinary support staff, behavioral staff, animal care technicians, laboratory staff, and administrative support staff are collectively responsible for the physical care and psychological well-being of the animals.

Because the Oregon National Primate Research Center's nonhuman primates are kept in excellent health, receive regular veterinary care and enjoy balanced nutrition, they live, on average, significantly longer than their "wild" counterparts in India and China. In addition, there is also a focused program for their psychological well-being. Surgical and potentially painful procedures are performed under the same anesthetic and antiseptic conditions as human surgery. When required, euthanasia of animals is performed without pain or suffering, generally by an overdose of anesthetics. The monkeys are protected from infection or other potential illnesses which may be transmitted by other animals or humans;therefore while public viewing is permissible with advanced scheduling, access is limited.

Who oversees the animal care program? 
The care and treatment of animals is subject to the policies of the Oregon National Primate Research Center and its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Composed of researchers, veterinarians, and members of the community, the IACUC must review and approve all investigative procedures involving animals and assure that proper anesthesia and analgesics are used in cases that may potentially cause discomfort. The IACUC also ensures that the research being performed is not duplicative, and that it utilizes the fewest possible number of animals. In addition, the committee conducts twice-a-year evaluations of the laboratory animal care and use program and inspects animal facilities, as required by the Public Health Service Policy on the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the Animal Welfare Act &Regulations.

The Oregon National Primate Research Center adheres to all National Institutes of Health (NIH) policies regarding animal care and use. The Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) supervises institutions and researchers receiving NIH grant support. OLAW has established the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals for all publicly funded research, and the Center fully complies with this Policy by the provision of an Animal Welfare Assurance document, which is provided to OLAW every three years. This document fully describes the Center's animal care and use program.

The Oregon National Primate Research Center is regulated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This office implements the Animal Welfare Act, and conducts routine, unannounced inspections, normally twice each year, of animal facilities at the Center to ensure compliance.

The Oregon National Primate Research Center has been fully accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALACi) since 1974. A private nonprofit organization promoting the responsible treatment of animals in science through voluntary assessment and accreditation programs, AAALAC International conducts thorough site visits every three years, judging programs in terms of results in animal health and well-being. When AAALAC International granted the Oregon National Primate Research Center a full, 3-year accreditation in 2016, it commended the Center "…for providing and maintaining an exemplary program of laboratory animal care and use."