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.
The CNPRC houses approximately 4,000 monkeys for research. The majority are rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), with a small population of South American titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus).
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 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).
The CNPRC is a component of the UC Davis Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC)-accredited program. At UC Davis, a single Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees all animal use in research and teaching in order to ensure that the highest animal welfare standards are met across the campus. The IACUC, a faculty-based committee with 25 members (e.g., faculty, facility staff, UC Davis Attending Veterinarian, IACUC staff, public non-affiliated members, non-scientists) inspects all animal facilities, establishes policy and procedure for the UC Davis campus, and coordinates training, compliance, and occupational health programs.
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.
Our scientists, veterinarians, and staff are constantly researching new ways to increase the quality of life for primates everywhere. Their work extends beyond captive research animals with publications focused on more efficient vaccine techniques, new enrichment programs, and more accurate welfare assessments. Follow the link below for a complete list of welfare and health publications from all seven National Primate Research Centers.
Behavioral Health Services
Proposals for research studies involving monkeys must be reviewed and approved by the UC Davis Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which ensures that the project meets all federal laws governing animal care and use. Projects are also reviewed internally by the CNPRC Research Advisory Committee.
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.