Roommates Wanted: USDA Tells Labs to Take Primates Out of Solitary

The national meeting of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) in San Diego featured a description of the many ways to modify existing caging and employ social introduction methods for nonhuman primates. These were presented in response to the USDA’s announcement that lack of caging will no longer be considered an acceptable excuse for research laboratories' failure to provide social housing to monkeys and apes. In addition, there is an increased onus on research facilities with primates to document all unsuccessful attempts to provide social housing. It would appear that now, more than 25 years after the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act mandated "a physical environment adequate to promote the psychological wellbeing of primates," the USDA is finally getting tougher on compliance.