The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shut down a monkey lab that was addicting baby monkeys to nicotine and other drugs following a years-long campaign by nonprofit White Coat Waste Project (WCW).

The WCW campaign started in 2016, after public records obtained through a lawsuit and the Freedom of Information Act found the FDA’s National Center for Toxicology Research (NCTR) in Arkansas had addicted young monkeys to nicotine, amphetamine, and Ritalin by having the animals press levers that directly injected the drugs into their bloodstream. Some of the baby monkeys died in the experiments, and others were killed.

The experiments had consumed at least $5.5 million of taxpayer-supported dollars, according to WCW.

In 2018, following pressure from animal advocates and legislators, the FDA retired 26 monkeys to a primate sanctuary in Florida but continued to test on other monkeys — leading to a continued WCW campaign to cut primate funding and another lawsuit in 2022 for records.

In August, WCW received an email from the FDA source that the primate lab had been shut down. 

The email read: “NCTR does not currently have an NHP (nonhuman primate) program. It was retired in December 2022.”

“We’re proud to have scored this victory in the war on waste by shutting down the FDA’s biggest primate lab,” said WCW Founder Anthony Bellotti. “A majority of Democrats and Republicans agree: taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for cruel and wasteful government spending on primate tests.”

A spokesperson with the FDA confirmed to Lady Freethinker that NCTR re-homed the monkeys from the study and does not currently house nonhuman primates onsite, due to a planned renovation of the facility that began in 2023 and implied that future experiments on monkeys might be conducted.

“NCTR does not currently house nonhuman primates onsite due to the renovation of the facility,” the agency said. “However, NCTR may conduct nonhuman-primate studies in the future based on agency needs.”

Lady Freethinker hopes these cruel experiments never resume and applauds the tireless work of animal advocates, WCW, and legislators to shut down these cruel experiments and help ensure the survivors were sent to a sanctuary!