Amid Probe by Feds, Charles River Fights Transparency, Pays Execs Lavishly, Calls Monkeys ‘Pests’

For Immediate Release:
March 30, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Wilmington, Mass. – Even as Charles River Laboratories is under federal investigation for possible illegal importation of monkeys who were allegedly pulled from their forest homes and falsely labeled as captive-bred, the company is fighting efforts to force it to come clean to shareholders. PETA’s commonsense shareholder proposal calls for transparency on the origin of imported monkeys, but in its just-released proxy statement, the mega laboratory supplier says no.

Charles River admits “that recent events have raised questions regarding non-human primate importation practices.” One question, PETA points out, involves the 1,000 monkeys the company imported into the U.S. who remain in limbo after the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service stopped their sale to laboratories. PETA is pressing the company to release the monkeys to Born Free USA’s Texas sanctuary and pay for their lifetime care. The company has so far refused to meet with PETA and Born Free.

Charles River’s top six executives have raked in more than $86 million over the past three years alone, which would cover the cost of these animals’ care. In a February briefing, the company’s CEO, James Foster, blatantly lied to shareholders, calling these monkeys—from whom they rake in billions in profit—mere “pests” in their native homes. Foster failed to say that the experimentation industry has driven two macaque species to the brink of extinction.

“Charles River has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. government contracts but so far has refused to turn over the money to care for the animals it reportedly may have brought here illegally,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “If the company can pay executives’ bloated salaries, it can certainly afford to send these monkeys to a reputable sanctuary arranged by PETA and Born Free.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind