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‘Thursdays at the U’ to highlight Primates Inc., a sanctuary for retired research monkeys

| Linda Tollefsrud

Photo caption: Izzle is a retired rhesus macaque at Primates Inc. (Photo courtesy of Primates Inc.)

What happens to research animals after projects are over? According to a 2018 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 106,000 monkeys are living in U.S. research laboratories. Some researchers reuse the animals in other projects or euthanize them. Other scientists would like to “retire” their monkeys to a place where the animals can relax and be free to roam again, but often there is no space available at one of the few existing sanctuaries.

Amy Kerwin, founder and executive director of Primates Inc.

Amy Kerwin, founder and executive director of Primates Inc.

On Sept. 23, Amy Kerwin, founder and executive director of Primates Inc., will present “Primates Inc.: Helping monkeys in need” during UW-Eau Claire – Barron County's “Thursdays at the U” lecture. The presentation will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus. Please note: Per UW-Eau Claire's campus mask guidelines, masks are required indoors for all attendees.

Kerwin conducted research with monkeys for five years as a student at UW-Madison. She founded the nonprofit organization Primates Inc. in 2003 after discovering there were no primate sanctuaries in Wisconsin. The primate sanctuary near Westfield opened in 2018 with a mission to give back to animals who have given so much by retiring them out of laboratories and into a spacious and enriching environment.

The “Thursdays at the U” weekly series is free and open to the public thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation. 

For more information about the series, contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at