Princeton establishes long-term care program for retiring research monkeys

Thursday, Dec 5, 2019
by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

Princeton University has entered into an agreement with Peaceable Primate Sanctuary to provide long-term housing and care for monkeys retired from biomedical research.

Princeton partnered with Yale University to fund the construction of permanent housing for aging research monkeys at the sanctuary's 78-acre facility in Winamac, Indiana. The universities also funded a "care endowment" that will provide for the animals over their lifespans at the sanctuary.

The agreement is a first of its kind model involving collaborations between academic institutions and the construction of new, long-term care facilities, according to Laura Conour, Princeton's executive director of laboratory animal resources and a veterinarian.

"With the construction of permanent housing and this new endowment, Princeton has put in place a long-term, high-quality program of care for our retiring monkeys used in research," Conour said. "This is a promising model for how research institutions can work with sanctuaries going forward to provide care for retired nonhuman primates."

The first monkey to transfer to the sanctuary under the new arrangement, a macaque named Bush, arrived at the sanctuary on Oct. 2. In his new environment, Bush, whose use in research contributed to discoveries of how the brain processes visual information, has access to a varied diet, outdoor spaces, enrichment activities and veterinary care.

Macaque with a carrot

Bush eats a carrot in Princeton's exercise and enrichment area for research monkeys prior to departing for his retirement home. Princeton's state-of-the-art facilities include skylights, structures for climbing made from PVC pipes, perches, ladders and play areas. Photo by David Kelly Crow for Princeton University

Since his arrival at the sanctuary, Bush has adapted well to his new surroundings, said Conour, who spent a day at the location to ensure that Bush acclimated to his new home.

"This agreement with Peaceable Primates underscores Princeton's responsible use of animals in research and our commitment to the long-term care of animals that have provided us with valuable knowledge," said Stuart Leland, director of research integrity and assurance, who is also a veterinarian.

Princeton University is committed to the humane and responsible use of animals in research with the goal of generating knowledge for the benefit of society. The care of research animals is subject to rigorous scientific, ethical and regulatory review both at Princeton and at animal sanctuaries.