Suspend All Experiments, Group Says; Monkeys' Exposure to Virus Will Affect Future Experiments
For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Yemassee, S.C. – Humans aren’t the only primates who can be infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That’s why PETA is calling on Alpha Genesis, Inc.(AGI) to suspend all experiments and provide documentation that the monkeys housed there, as well as its staff, have not been exposed to or infected with the coronavirus. Because the virus affects monkeys differently from humans, they are not good “models” for studying the human form of the disease—and if any of the monkeys are infected, future studies involving them would be compromised.
“We are deeply concerned that in the face of a global pandemic—the very reason that primate experimenters claim to need to cage and maintain 100,000-plus primates in laboratories—AGI may not be able to show that the monkeys it imprisons and the humans it employs haven’t been exposed to COVID-19,” says PETA veterinarian Dr. Ingrid Taylor.
In 2018, AGI received more than $3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health for maintaining its primate breeding capacity. The facility has been repeatedly cited for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including for failing to handle animals humanely and cage monkeys safely and securely. One monkey sustained lacerations to his hand, and one of his fingers required amputation. In another incident, a monkey who had been shot with a dart sustained internal injuries, which caused her death. Multiple monkeys were found dehydrated after they had been left without water for a week, and a juvenile monkey who was placed in the wrong social group was attacked and later died from his injuries.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to AGI is available here.