The CNPRC scientists and staff’s daily activities support the responsibility that comes with the privilege of working with animals. They provide a humane environment for the animals in their care, and minimize the number of animals used according to IACUC approved protocols, and are dedicated to ensuring involvement in research is as comfortable as possible and seek alternatives to use whenever possible.
The CNPRC mission ensures the highest quality of animal care and well-being, and demonstrates leadership in the field of nonhuman primate care, enrichment and social housing. The state-of-the-art research and scientific findings at the Center contribute to the understanding and treatment of human and animal disease, but also increases knowledge of nonhuman primate behavior, nutrition, reproduction, development, health, and social networks, leading to further advancements in the level of care provided.
Approximately 600 infants are born outdoors each year, primarily in the spring. The Center also houses an aged colony, ranging in age up to 38 years, and partially supported by the National Institute on Aging. The CNPRC is focused on expanding its colony of “specific pathogen free” or SPF monkeys, which currently number around 1,800, to improve the health of the monkeys and safety of the personnel. SPF monkeys are bred to be free of several endogenous viruses that, while harmless to monkeys, can have severe and sometimes fatal consequences if contracted by humans.
Caring for Our Animals
A large staff of veterinarians, veterinary residents and animal health technicians care for the Center’s monkeys as well as provide research support. The animal care staff – about 100 individuals – feeds the animals, keeps their housing areas clean, monitors them daily, and works to promote the well-being of the animals in their care.
Indoor housed animals are also fed monkey chow and fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to enrichment foods (see Enrichment, to right). They are housed in enclosures that allow them to spend the daytime hours with another animal – either male or female pairs, or male / female pairs and offspring. Animals are housed separately at night when fewer staff are available to monitor interactions.
Over half of the animal care staff have taken advantage of an established, in-house training program that provides the opportunity to advance knowledge and careers, such as Assistant Laboratory Animal Technicians receive certification as a Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT).
See Oversight and Regulations for more information.
Physical, Social and Behavioral Enrichment
The CNPRC has a model environmental enrichment program for the benefit of all animals, indoors and outdoors. The goal is to provide daily enrichment and to facilitate psychological well-being through provision of multiple forms of environmental enrichment.
The CNPRC is a part of the UC Davis Animal Care Program which is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC), a private, nonprofit group that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation. UC Davis is one of more than 770 research institutions and other organizations that have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating its commitment to responsible animal care and use.
In addition, the CNPRC has regular, unannounced inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as required by the Animal Welfare Act passed by Congress in 1966.
Please see Oversight and Regulations for more information.