Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Letter Template – Take Action for the Monkeys!

Posted: 11 July 2014. Updated: 8 March 2016

Please urge local and state officials to take measures to cancel plans for Prelabs’ Primera facility in Labelle, using our template letter below. Send letters to the following:

Senator Dwight Bullard
https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/find
305-234-2208 or 850-487-5039

The Hendry County Economic Development Council
Greg Gillman, President – gregg@hendryedc.com
863-675-6007

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
http://mygovhelp.info/FLFWC/


Dear [Recipient],

I am writing [as a constituent] to ask that you please put a stop to the construction of the Primera/Prelabs facility and the imminent importation of macaque monkeys to Labelle, Florida. The proposed facility plans to house as many as 3200 long-tailed macaque monkeys for breeding and sale for experimentation around the US. However, there are a number of serious economic, environmental, agricultural, and public health issues that have not been addressed and it appears will not be addressed related to the monkey breeding facility.

I understand the project was approved based upon Primera’s promise to create jobs and promote economic development in Hendry County. The president of Hendry County’s Economic Development Council has been quoted as saying the project promised 50 jobs averaging $45,000-$50,000 annually. Under the typical industry standard job profiles and wages, this average is obtained by a few high wage positions earning around $84,000 and the great majority of positions earning between $18,000 and $23,000. As many as two thirds of the jobs promised are likely to be below Hendry county’s median household income of $35,736 and below federal poverty standards (33 jobs would be below the federal poverty line for a family of four and 16-17 of those would also be below the line for a family of three).

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists macaques as a Class II wildlife, which pose a danger to people and require a permit to possess or sell. Primera’s SFWMD permit improperly identifies the monkeys as livestock. The importation of long-tailed macaque monkeys would introduce yet another non-native exotic to Florida’s indigenous plants, animals, and waters. Macaque monkeys eat a variety of fruit and where introduced as a non-native, they are argued to be a pest to agriculture, native bird and seed populations, and at times even small animals or their eggs. Macaques introduced to Puerto Rico – interestingly also under a livestock permit – so decimated their fruit groves and threatened an endangered parrot species that the government determined to eradicate them. Their efforts failed. Florida has looked at similar situations before and determined they are better prevented than resolved, and nearly impossible to eradicate. Nevertheless, the project will be permitted without any analysis of potential impacts to Florida’s indigenous species or agriculture.

Other unanswered questions include the potential interaction between different primate species or the potential for cross-species spread of disease. Florida has previously allowed, and documented regret regarding, the introduction of two different species of monkeys into the wild. Now, as many as 3200 monkeys – a third species from a third continent – will be introduced, with the attendant risks of cross-species infection. Some may argue that the monkeys will be contained, but Florida’s current population of wild monkeys underscores the failures of containment. After Hurricane Andrew for example, numerous monkeys escaped from a research facility in Miami. A rumor spread that the animals had been used in AIDS research, and the public panicked and began shooting them in the street.

Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) undercover investigation of Biodia (PreLabs’ partner in Mauritius and presumed primate supplier to the proposed LaBelle facility) revealed horrific treatment of monkeys. Findings included workers swinging screaming monkeys by their tails, distressed baby monkeys torn from the arms of their desperate mothers and tattooed without anesthetic, and monkeys injected in the eyelids for TB tests. This footage and that from other ADI undercover investigations show this is the typical treatment of non-human primates at breeding facilities across the globe. There is a wealth of evidence of the chilling brutality and desperation these monkeys endure; some reports identify primates falling silent as they witness another die during experimentation.

The world is moving away from primate research, as both the public and scientific community are concerned about the use of these intelligent, social animals in laboratory research and the effect of the trade on the conservation of the species in the wild. Primera’s suggestion that the “local community’s appreciation for animals and their use” includes using and abusing primates this way ignores growing public opinion throughout Florida and worldwide, and it ignores the changing face of the testing and research industries.

Thank you for your public service and I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

  • Read more about the proposed Monkey Breeding Facility in Labelle, FL

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