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Update: On October 11, the Puerto Rico Senate approved Senate Resolution 1514 to “[e]xpress the most forceful objection” to Bioculture’s plans, and will now officially “request that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) deny any and all permit requests by Bioculture Mauritus, any of its subsidiaries or Bioculture Puerto Rico, Inc. with the purpose of importing macaca fascicularis [macaque monkeys] into Puerto Rico.”
Bioculture—a company that sells nonhuman primates to laboratories—has been dealt a massive blow after the municipality of Guayama, Puerto Rico, and its mayor, Glorimari Jaime Rodríguez, unanimously approved two landmark ordinances banning the import, export, breeding, and use of monkeys in experiments. Bioculture must now terminate its plans to capture more than 4,000 wild monkeys, confine them to cages, breed them in Guayama, and sell their offspring to laboratories for use in painful and deadly tests. Bioculture’s client list included hideous labs such as Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories, Charles River Laboratories, Pfizer, and Covance, among others.
PETA, other organizations, world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, leading Indian politician Maneka Gandhi, and Puerto Rico–born actor Benicio del Toro have campaigned hard to get Bioculture’s cruel plan stopped. We protested the company and joined Guayama residents in filing a lawsuit, which prompted a Superior Court judge in Puerto Rico to temporarily halt construction of the facility because of Bioculture’s flagrant violation of local laws.
In case Bioculture has ideas about setting up shop elsewhere in Puerto Rico, we have also worked with Sen. Melinda Romero Donnelly, who sponsored Senate Resolution 1514 to formally urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture not to grant any licenses or permits to Bioculture for the importation and breeding of animals in Puerto Rico.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor