Call on Abbott Nutrition to stop funding cruel experiments on baby monkeys

  • by: Action For Primates and Humane Research Australia
  • recipient: Mr Robert B. Ford, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Miles D. White, Executive Chairman, Mr Daniel Salvadori, Executive Vice President, Abbott, USA; Managing Directors at Abbott Nutrition, UK and Abbott Nutrition, Australia

Abbott Nutrition funded infant formula research in which baby monkeys were killed. The research, recently published, was a cruel and callous waste of life. 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 also funded by the US taxpayer (National Institutes of Health). It involved Abbott Nutrition Similac® infant formula products.

Action for Primates is urging Abbott Nutrition to show compassion for all primates, whether human or non-human, and end any funding and involvement in research on monkeys.

The research was carried out at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in the USA. At birth, 15 of the infant monkeys were assigned to one of two Similac trademarked diets and eight received a combination of monkey breast milk and a monkey diet. 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 allowed to be 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 cruelest treatments to which primates can be subjected.

In addition to the inhumane nature of the research, Action for Primates believes that 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.

(photo: rhesus macaque and infant living freely; photo credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals)

Action for Primates:,,,

Humane Research Australia:,,,


Kuchan, Matthew J.; Ranard, Katherine M.; Dey, Priyankar; Jeon, Sookyoung; Sasaki, Geoff Y.; Schimpf, Karen J.; Bruno, Richard S.; Neuringer, Martha and Erdman, John W. 2020-07-02. Infant Rhesus Macaque Brain [alpha]-Tocopherol Stereoisomer Profile Is Differentially Impacted by the Source of [alpha]-Tocopherol in Infant Formula. The Journal of Nutrition ePub:nxaa174. Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (

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