PETA: Why Is the CDC Allowing Tuberculosis-Infected Monkeys Into the U.S.?

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2 min read

PETA has been making a simple point loud and clear: Importing thousands of monkeys from overseas dramatically increases the risk of spreading nasty diseases capable of jumping from animals to humans.

Now we’ve been proved right.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released statistics showing that between 2010 and 2020 there were no cases of tuberculosis (TB) detected among imported monkeys. But from 2021 to 2023, such shipments revealed a shocking increase in confirmed TB cases—including a strain of the disease never before seen in animals in the U.S.

macaques look at camera from cages in breeding facility

In one shipment, 26 monkeys were infected. To underscore the point: This represents the largest percentage of these animals infected with TB—a nasty disease readily transmissible to humans and other species—in any shipment into the U.S. to date.

PETA knew there was a TB outbreak at a monkey farm in Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of southeastern Africa that supplies monkeys for U.S. laboratories. We uncovered documents revealing an outbreak in a Michigan laboratory.  But the new strain that the CDC has identified is different and has arrived in monkeys from an entirely different part of the world.

Graph screenshot showing a bar graph with the title marked increase in shipments with confirmed cases in FY 2021-2023

PETA obtained documents showing that the 26 infected monkeys were likely brought into the U.S. by Charles River Laboratories as part of a shipment of 540 monkeys imported from Vietnam to Houston. PETA is pressing Charles River CEO James Foster to confirm whether the company is responsible for the shipment.

It’s also not the first time monkeys infected with TB have been imported to North American labs. Monkeys from Cambodia have also arrived infected with a bacterium so deadly that the U.S. classifies it as a bioterrorism agent.

PETA is urging the CDC to act on its own evidence and stop monkey importation. If the CDC takes seriously its mandate to keep Americans safe from diseases, it must close the doors on monkey importation—right now.

Please take action and urge the CDC to stop monkey importation immediately:

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