Suspend All Experiments, Group Says; Monkeys' Exposure to Virus Will Affect Future Experiments
For Immediate Release:
April 27, 2020
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Princeton, N.J. – 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 Covance 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 aren’t 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—Covance 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.
Covance—the largest importer of primates to the U.S.—used 7,042 primates in cruel and often deadly tests in 2017 and imprisoned an additional 1,370 nonhuman primates for other purposes, including breeding. In recent years, the facility has been cited for the following violations, including leaving dogs to suffer from preventable dental disease; allowing monkeys to be housed outdoors in frigid weather, which resulted in frostbite; failing to notice that a monkey’s leg had become trapped in the back of a cage, which caused the animal to be unable to access food for several days; and keeping primates in isolation, which fails to meet the basic psychological needs of these highly social and intelligent animals.
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 Covance is available here.