The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cruel Treatment Of Chimpanzees At The Research Lab, NIRC

New Iberia, Louisiana (affiliated with University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Approximate Number of Chimpanzees: 325

History & Profile

New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) is the largest holding of captive primates in the world, and is owned and operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette). NIRC is composed of five major divisions: Division of Research Resources, Division of Veterinary Sciences, Division of Animal Resources, Division of Behavioral Sciences, and Division of Occupational Services.

NIRC “operates from a 100-acre site with 24 buildings totaling 485,000 square feet,” and the indoor space includes a 12,000-square-foot diagnostic laboratory. (1) “The Division of Animal Resources maintains husbandry and housing responsibilities for over 6,000 nonhuman primates representing eight species.” (2) The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) reports that NIRC breeds the following species of nonhuman primates: chimpanzee, vervet monkey, cynomolgus macaque, pigtailed macaque, and rhesus macaque. (3) On New Iberia’s Web site they note breeding capuchin monkeys as well. (4) For chimpanzees, NIRC still receives federal funding to maintain the capabilities for breeding them. According to recent government records, received by Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN), NIRC receives over $6.1 million per year for the maintenance of their more than 6,000 primates. (5)

(Click here to read more about the moratorium and breeding of chimpanzees for research.)

NIRC claims that it has given much attention to the development of “suitable” living quarters for nonhuman primates at the facility. (6) NIRC was formerly known as the Gulf South Research Institute (GSRI), which began the Life Science Division at the site. The division focused primarily on rodent animal models but some primates were housed there as well.
“In 1984, GSRI discontinued its biological research activities and UL Lafayette (then the University of Southwestern Louisiana) redefined the nature of the facility and created the New Iberia Research Center, operating a Primate Research Center as a contract support facility.” (7)

In the 1980s, “the primary focus of [NIRC] was to provide private industry and the federal government with a reliable source of native born, quality bred nonhuman primates.” (8) In 1990, NIRC “expanded its mission by providing pre-clinical safety, pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic, and efficacy evaluations of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products.” (9)

Maternal separation/deprivation experiments were conducted on chimpanzees by G. Berkson and W.A. Mason at this facility. (10)

Chimpanzee Use

Nonhuman primates at NIRC are used for vaccine development and pharmaceutical testing. NIRC maintains and provides “a ready source of chimpanzees of mixed ages and sex for use in biomedical and behavioral sciences…” (11) The center “specializes in the breeding, management and importation of a diverse range of nonhuman primate species…” (12)

Research Profile*

Principal Research Programs:

  • Breeding and supply of various species
  • Physiological and pharmacological evaluation
  • Chronic and degenerative disease studies
  • Vaccine development efficacy and safety testing
  • Comparative cognitive development

* These research programs may involve primates other than chimpanzees.


NIRC receives grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for chimpanzee research, housing and maintenance.

For grant 5U42RR015087 titled the “Establishment/Maintenance of Biomedical Research Colony,” over $10 million has been awarded to NIRC since the project began in September 2000. The grant is scheduled to continue through August 2011. NIRC has also received over $7 million for a contract entitled the “Leasing of Chimpanzees for the Conduct of Research.” The contract, N01-A0-22754, started in September 2002 and is scheduled to continue through September 2012. (13)


Thomas J. Rowell, DVM, Director
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
4401 West Admiral Doyle Drive, New Iberia, LA 70560











(10) Stephens, M.L. 1986: “Maternal Deprivation Experiments in Psychology: A Critique of the Animal Models,” A Report prepared for the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, pp. 27-28.




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