Apes in Muskegon!

By: Emily Guiles

In 2012 the research company, Northern Biomedical Research Facility, moved to a new location at 1210 Pontaluna in Muskegon Mich. Northern Biomedical Research facility previously had a facility located on Sherman in Muskegon, but reportedly they outgrew this facility and moved to the facility on Pontaluna.

Northern Biomedical is a facility that utilizes animals in their research experiments. In order to use animals in their experiments Northern Biomedical has to adhere to government regulations, there are multiple regulations for the facility to follow but the most beneficial to the lab animals is the Animal Welfare Act, or AWA. The AWA was started in 1966 and is one of the only federal laws in the US that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and dealers. The act is reinforced by the USDA and APHIS. Northern Biomedical is routinely inspected by sponsors and the USDA to make sure they are following regulation.

This particular research facility specializes in neurological disorders such as; Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, and Batten Disease. When using the animals in their experiments Northern Biomedical is required to administer pain relieving medication to animals that are involved in experiments that may cause them pain.

Every year the USDA issues a report on what species and how many of that species the facility uses in their research and experiments. In the Sherman facility in 2009 they had 150 dogs, 38 guinea pigs, 52 rabbits, 51 sheep, and 200 non-human apes. In 2013 they used 132 primates, 13 were bred in the lab; 81 of these primates were used with no pain or distress relieving drugs, and 51 were used in experiments involving pain relieving drugs. 10 sheep were also bred in captivity to make a total of 34 and all 34 were used in experiments involving pain relieving drugs. It is unspecified yet by the USDA how many animals Northern Biomedical currently has in their possession.

An organization called Speak Up has been protesting the new facility at 1210 Pontaluna and stated that, “animal experimentation as a scandal that has been hidden from the public.” Their next protest of this property will take place in mid-August but they were unspecific about the dates. Speak Up also states that 90% of the animals used in experimentation are purposely excluded from the protection under the AWA. Rats, mice, birds, and many others have been eliminated from all safeguards.