Controversy and activism have long been linked to the subject of primate research. Even in the midst of raging ethical debates surrounding fertility treatments, genetically modified foods and stem-cell research, there has been no reduction in the campaigns of activists worldwide. Playing their trade of intimidation aimed at ending biomedical experimentation in all animals, they have succeeded in creating an environment where research institutions, often painted as guilty until proven innocent, have avoided addressing the issue for fear of becoming targets. One area of intense debate is the use of primates in stroke research. Despite the fact that stroke kills more people each year than AIDS and malaria, and less than 5% of patients are candidates for current therapies, there is significant opposition to primate stroke research. A balanced examination of the ethics of primate stroke research is thus of broad interest to all areas of biomedical research.