Primate-Experimenting University Settles Grant Fraud Case

The Rise for Animals Team, June 21, 2021

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) imprisons more than 6,000 monkeys in its Oregon National Primate Research Center.

Photo from OHSU obtained by Rise for Animals

To fuel its sprawling animal experimentation program, OHSU receives huge sums of grant money from the federal National Institutes of Health.

For 2021 alone, the two main grants to operate the primate center total more than $13 million. Then there are tens of millions more taxpayer dollars going to specific components within the primate center, divisions studying certain areas such as reproduction and aging, and dozens of individual projects being conducted by faculty members. This year alone, OHSU is getting an additional $2 million to build a primate enclosure for AIDS/HIV research plus another million dollars to build a primate corral for breeding. One professor is getting $225,000 to study “alcohol drinking in rodents.” No, we’re not kidding:

We hope someone is keeping a close eye on these funds—we have reason to worry.

Open records work has led to a startling and embarrassing revelation about OHSU.

In a previously unnoticed development, the Justice Department prosecuted OHSU for grant fraud, and the university settled the case by paying $1.32 million.

The DOJ charged the university with misusing funds related to its Oregon National Primate Research Center and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute from 2005 until late 2017. OHSU was said to have charged inflated or unallowable costs involving nearly 200 grants and sub-awards.

Photos from OHSU obtained by Rise for Animals

The university settled with the Justice Department in August 2018, forking over more than a million dollars while getting to formally deny all wrongdoing. This development was briefly mentioned in a Congressional report from the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. We requested more documents under the Freedom of Information Act, and the DOJ sent us the settlement agreement itself, which we’ve posted here. None of this appears to have been reported in the media.

We urge other entities giving grant money to OHSU—including the Defense Department, the National Science Foundation, and the Gates Foundation—to look closely at how those funds are being spent.

OHSU and its primate center have a highly troubling history regarding animal experimentation, some of which we’ve written about in the past. Among other things, they admit in their own documents that around 900 monkeys die at their primate facility every year. That’s an average of almost 2.5 per day! Now we’re seeing these troubling charges against them for misuse of research funds. We ask you to urge the National Institutes of Health to defund animal experimentation at OHSU.

Ask the NIH to stop using your tax dollars to fund cruelty.

Tell the National Institutes of Health to stop giving grants to OHSU. Without these grants, OHSU won’t be able to torture monkeys and other animals with impunity. Show them there are many people like you who care about animals.

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