Posted by MaryAnn Hussey
09 September 2022 | Blog

To defund wasteful animal experiments, first we have to expose them…and to expose them, first we have to find them. That’s why the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is so critical: taxpayer-funded white coats are required to disclose what they’re doing with our money. It’s the law!

But that doesn’t mean agencies are always quick to comply…and in the case of the FDA, they’ve dragged their feet for a long, long time. So, once again, we’re taking them to court.

WCW Lawsuit Monkey Business

In January 2022, using FOIA, we requested information about all of FDA’s ongoing in-house experiments on hundreds of primates. They said they would give us documents by May 1…then ignored their own deadline. On May 31, they said they would get us the documents soon. But did they? Nope.

By the end of August, we got tired of waiting…so we filed a lawsuit in federal court, demanding the release of these documents. WCW is being represented by the Law Office of Matthew Strugar.

This isn’t the first FOIA lawsuit we’ve filed. It’s not even the first suit we’ve filed against the FDA: in fact, a FOIA lawsuit is what helped us expose the FDA’s nicotine experiments on baby monkeys starting back in 2016. We got that monkey business shut down back in 2018, and, for the first time in agency history, got the survivors relocated to a sanctuary.

After that historic first, we continued exposing rampant waste and abuse in FDA primate labs — thanks (again) to the Freedom of Information Act! — and worked with Congress to rally bipartisan action to reduce the FDA’s taxpayer-funded primate testing. As a result, all recent government spending bills, including the bill for this year, include critical WCW-backed language directing the FDA to reduce primate testing, prioritize alternative research methods, and relocate primates to sanctuaries.

Recently, Congresswoman and WCW Waste Warrior awardee Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) spoke about the need to cut the FDA’s “cruel and often unnecessary” primate tests:

To their credit, the FDA has been reducing its in-house abuse of primates in experiments year after year following WCW’s bipartisan work with Congress. When WCW’s campaign started in 2016, FDA labs experimented on a total of 381 primates. By last year, in 2021, that number was cut by 44% to 215. 

WCW Lawsuit Monkey Business

In its 2023 budget request to Congress, the FDA stated that it “shares the nation’s interest in reducing the need for non-human primates (NHPs) in FDA intramural research.” This was a welcome statement — but there is still more for FDA to do.

They can start by turning over the records we requested, so we know how our tax dollars are being spent!

WCW Lawsuit Monkey Business

As always, as we learn more, we will keep you posted. In the meantime, if you think that primates should be relocated to sanctuaries when FDA experiments end and other animals should be adopted out, make your voice heard and take action! Contact Congress, and tell them to pass Violet’s Law today!


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