Sunday, August 04, 2002

There are 358 chimpanzees at NIRC. With a $15 million budget, of course the facility would exist without a need for the research!

NEW IBERIA PRIMATE RESEARCH CENTER EXPANDING TO TEST MORE DRUGS

More monkeys, more jobs
UL Lafayette primate center expands due to drug research
Barbara L. Nelson / Staff Writer
Posted on August 3, 2002

NEW IBERIA - One thousand more monkeys at the UL Lafayette New Iberia Research Center means 30 more jobs, the center director said Friday.

The center, based at the Acadiana Regional Airport, is expanding because of an increasing demand for pharmaceutical research.

It is one of the nation's largest resources of nonhuman primates used by drug companies and the National Health Institute, said Thomas J. Rowell, center director.

Currently, 5,000 primates from 10 different species are housed at the center. That number will expand to 6,000 by the end of next year....

New jobs also are in the $15 million annual budget. The staff of 160 will be increased by 30 employees, both in clinical jobs, as well as animal care. Salaries account for $3.8 million of the total budget.

With 81 percent of its revenues coming from the private sector, 16 percent from the federal government and 3 percent from the state, the center brings new money into the parish, according to center records.

The center's revenues has steadily grown over the last five years.

"The center is totally self-supporting," said Romero. "Two drug companies have deposited $2.5 million apiece with the state to expand this facility."

The center also has acquired $33 million in grant funds from the National Institute of Health through the year 2011.

"If there was no need for the research, this facility wouldn't exist," Rowell said. "We have the facilities, equipment, cages and the people."...

Several animal rights groups have protested the use of animals in laboratory research in the past. In 1999, the Coalition to End Primate Experimentation organized a protest at the center, where a woman sat in a cage for more than a day. The demonstration of about 35 people ended peacefully.