HRA has joined UK organisation Action for Primates in condemning infant formula research in which baby monkeys were killed, as a cruel and callous waste of life. In the recently published research, twenty-three female rhesus macaques suffered the trauma and loss of having their babies taken from them and 23 baby monkeys were purposefully killed at 6 months of age for a human infant formula that is already on the market. The study was funded by Abbott Nutrition and the US National Institutes of Health.
The research was carried out at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in the USA. At birth, the infant monkeys were assigned to one of three trademarked diets: Similac Advance with OptiGRO (eight monkeys), Similac Advance base formulation (seven monkeys) and a combination of monkey breast milk and Fiber-Balanced Monkey Diet 5000 [LabDiet] (eight monkeys). The research was carried out to look at different nutrients. All 15 infants who were fed the commercial human infant formula were removed from their mothers at one day old and kept in what was euphemistically called a “nursery”. The eight infants who had the combination diet were kept with their mothers for six months before being taken away and killed with the other 15 individuals. Forcibly separating infants from their mothers, and then depriving them of each other, is an extremely distressing experience for mother and infant, and one of the cruellest situations to which primates, including human ones, can be subjected.
In addition to the inhumane nature of the research, the results cannot be extrapolated to human infants, whose metabolism, nutrient requirements and, in particular, social environment, would be completely different. Further, the Abbott Nutrition products are already in use for human infants and data for people have been and could continue to be derived from sophisticated studies on infants.
The research paper concludes with a suggestion that further research be conducted. We cannot allow this needless cruelty to continue. Please sign the petition urging Abbott Nutrition to end funding and involvement in research on monkeys.
You can email Abbott Nutrition Australia via the below form.