My opinion: Though many people are aware of animal research centers, I think there are many efforts to keep them concealed. A research assistant once told me that she was not allowed to discuss research practices with outsiders, as animal rights activists could form a protest outside of the lab. Perhaps this is why Harvard chooses not to disclose all of the information surrouding the closing of their primate facilities. Though this may solve the problem at Harvard, relocating the primates could potentially transfer it to other schools. Is animal research more of a local issue, or are there widespread issues that may impact animals across the country? Also, it will be interesting to see what Harvard does, if anything, to open a new research center. I'm not so sure the researchers are willing to give up so easily - maybe they'll find new (and similar) things to research that avoid legal troubles?
Harvard Medical School Plans to Close Primate Research Lab
Published: April 24, 2013
The school announced Tuesday that it would close the facility, the New England Primate Research Center in Southborough, Mass., over the next two years. Harvard said financial uncertainties were behind the move, but the laboratory has been cited in recent years by the federal Department of Agriculture for failing to comply with the Animal Welfare Act, and four primates have died there since mid-2010.
The center, which has operated for nearly half a century and has contributed to research on AIDS and other diseases, employs about 200 people, including research faculty and support staff. It is one of eight national primate research centers that, in all, received about $87 million from the National Institutes of Health last year.
The N.I.H. official, Dr. James Anderson, a deputy director, said there were currently about 130 research projects at the Southborough center. N.I.H. officials, along with representatives from Harvard and the other national research centers, will review them case by case, he said. “They all work closely together; they know each other’s inventory,” Dr. Anderson said. “We’ll go through when and where to move the animals and projects.”