The well-being of our animals is a top priority.


Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, NPRC employees are committed to the health and welfare of our research animals.


The round-the-clock care NPRC veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal care and behavioral management personnel, and others provide is grounded in a respect for all life and includes daily health checks, annual examinations, fresh fruits and vegetables, toys and more.


Because NPRC animals are crucial to discovering disease causes, preventions, treatments and cures, we have tailored programs to meet their species-typical needs as well as their psychological well-being. These programs include socialization with other animals, foraging and sensory opportunities, manipulable objects, climbing structures and positive reinforcement training to help facilitate animal care, veterinary procedures and research. The NPRCs regularly review and update our behavioral management programs based on internal assessments and findings our research and care teams publish in peer-reviewed science journals.


The breakthrough discoveries the NPRCs are making and enabling would not be possible without the knowledge and conviction of our employees who are all dedicated to the highest quality animal care.




Who takes care of animals at the NPRCs?

Veterinarians, veterinary technicians and animal care technicians take care of the animals. Colony management and behavioral specialists also provide care for NPRC animals. Many of the NPRC veterinarians are board certified, and many animal care personnel also hold certifications.


How are the animals at the NPRCs housed?

Most animals at the NPRCs are socially housed in groups of 2 to 200. NPRC behavioral management employees provide species-typical opportunities to forage, groom and play. These efforts, as well as the daily healthcare attention the animals receive, mean life expectancy of NPRC animals is greater than animals that live in the wild and face predators, untreated disease, habitat loss and food shortages.


What are some examples of animal enrichment at the NPRCs?

Animal enrichment supplements the expert animal care the NPRCs provide and includes social housing, climbing structures, swings, hammocks, mirrors, music, videos and more. These options encourage the monkeys to socialize, play, exercise and stay curious. Wild monkeys spend a lot of time searching for their food, so the NPRCs provide foraging opportunities for our research animals. The monkeys pick seeds, fruit, nuts and other snacks out of artificial turf mats, food puzzles, chew toys and tubs of shredded paper. Employees also spread chew toys with yogurtand peanut butter, and fill treats with low sugar frozen juice blocks.


What regulations govern research with animals?

The NPRCs are committed to providing high quality, compassionate care for the research animals. Better care means less stress for the animals and, therefore, helps ensure research results are scientifically valid. As part of our commitment to high-quality care, the NPRCs follow regulations and guidelines from the:


National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare administers the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy). This policy requires research institutions to ensure appropriate care and use of all animals involved in research the PHS conducts or supports. In addition, the PHS Policy requires institutions to use the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (“the Guide”), which sets the framework for the humane care and use of laboratory animals.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA is responsible for establishing standards and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a federal law governing the use of animals in research.  


NPRC-specific institutional animal care and use committees (IACUC) – each IACUC reviewsand approves studies before any research begins. After approval, IACUCs conduct six-month reviews of an institution’s program for humane care and use of animals and inspects animal facilities, makes recommendations regarding an institution’s animal program, facilities or personnel training, and reviews requests for research protocol modifications.


What is a National Scientific Advisory Board?

In addition to federal and IACUC oversight, each NPRC also has a National Scientific Advisory Board (NSAB) comprised of internationally renowned scientific experts in their fields. Each NSAB meets annually and provides advice and guidance on planning and program activities to support continued and balanced scientific growth of each NPRC.


What is AAALAC Accreditation

AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. AAALAC Int. accreditation is recognized as the gold standard for laboratory animal care. More than 1,100 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 50 countries/regions have earned AAALAC accreditation, including the NPRCs, demonstrating their commitment to responsible animal care and use. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC’s program, in addition to complying with all applicable local and national laws that regulate animal research.


How Can I Learn More?

We encourage you to explore other pages on this website, including our News page, which we frequently update with our latest scientific advancements.


You can find the center closest to you on this page; all the NPRCs conduct local outreach to schools, community groups and others, and many offer tours. If you don’t live close enough to participate in a tour, you can virtually visit a research center via this video: Love Care Progress, Inside a Nonhuman Primate Research Facility.


We also encourage you to follow us on X; our handle is @NPRCnews.  


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