Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Lab Monkey Business Exposed

Posted: 27 October 2015. Updated: 28 October 2015

The horror of the laboratory monkey trade was uncovered by ADI investigators who infiltrated the secret world of two dealers operating out of holiday island paradise Mauritius, off the coast of Africa. The US is believed to be the world’s biggest user of laboratory monkeys.

Primates are highly intelligent with complex social structures, mathematic and problem solving skills, and emotions similar to humans, yet many endure desperate lives in labs. The US uses a staggering 70,000 primates a year while other advanced nations such as those in the European Union (EU) use just 10,000 a year and already have policies in place to reduce primate use.

Some 20,000 primates are imported into the US each year for laboratories, of which about 3,000 come from Mauritius. Biodia of Mauritius and others are helping turn southwest Florida, and Hendry County in particular, into the epicenter of the US monkey business.

Our investigators discovered:

  • monkeys torn from the wild, destroying family groups
  • pregnant monkeys roughly manhandled and pinned down
  • monkey babies wrenched from their screaming mothers’ arms and tattooed
  • brutal capture methods with animals pulled and swung by their tails
  • heavy-handed restraint with monkeys’ arms pinned tightly behind their backs
  • terrifying routine procedures including blood sampling and TB test injections into the eyelid

Pubic outrage at the suffering of these monkeys being flown around the globe to die in laboratory experiments has led to the majority of airlines refusing to carry this cruel cargo.

The biggest hold out is Air France; a senior Biodia staff member told us they “can take a pallet of 80 animals” and continue to fly monkeys from Mauritius.

While most of the world is turning away from primate experiments in favor of advanced non-animal methods for faster,: more economic and effective results, dealers in Florida are establishing factory farms that could lock the US into unreliable, unscientific and outdated monkey experiments for decades.

Biodia’s US trading partner, Prelabs plans to “establish a Mauritius breeding colony in the US” in Labelle, Florida. The facility will operate under the name “Primera.”

ADI worked for decades alongside the National Anti-Vivisection Society (UK) on the EU cosmetics testing ban and the ban on primate research – we are strongly opposing the proliferation of the research primate industry in Hendry County, Florida and alongside media coverage of the monkey farm expansion plans, we’ve reached out to legislators, agencies and stakeholders and spoken before the county commission.

US Representative Deutch has demanded review of Primate Products $13 million federal contracts given multiple USDA violations, saying: “For years, I have called for action regarding the abuses.”

NIH has suspended all new contracts, but continues with ongoing work. State authorities are reportedly investigating alleged veterinary practice violations. Hendry argues no public review is required because this is “agriculture” (but macaques aren’t livestock under Florida law); that assertion currently faces legal challenge. Hendry’s determination that Primate Products’ citations were also “agriculture” (despite contrary public statements) appears as posturing for the current lawsuit.

There are a range of concerns about the prospect of a monkey breeding farm, including environmental. The intelligence and problem-solving skills of primates complicates containment. Monkeys do escape and while Puerto Rico and Florida both attempted and failed to eradicate wild monkeys amidst public outcry, each ultimately deemed the problem insurmountable. Neither the state nor proponents promising economic development considered potential impacts to long-time iconic industries like tourism and agriculture. Jobs in primate breeding facilities offer little earning potential, low morale, and high turnover; they’re neither longstanding nor sought after.

Animal testing is brutal, ineffective, and destructive. It’s time to move to advanced technologies that promise real help for people and animals.

© Animal Defenders International 2019