Are Monkeys at Envigo and Orient Infected With the Novel Coronavirus? PETA Demands Documentation

Suspend All Sales, Experiments, Group Says; Monkeys' Exposure to Virus Will Affect Future Experiments

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Alice, Texas – 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 two Alice-based primate facilities, Envigo and Orient BioResource Center, Inc., to suspend all experiments on monkeys and their sale or transfer to laboratories and to provide documentation that the animals housed there, as well as the companies’ 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—Envigo and Orient BioResource Center may not be able to show that the monkeys they imprison and the humans they employ haven’t been exposed to COVID-19,” says PETA veterinarian Dr. Ingrid Taylor.

Envigo and Orient recently acquired their facilities in Texas from Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories USA and Covance, respectively, companies that have been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Last year, the USDA cited the facility that then belonged to Covance after 25 monkeys were left without food for six days and two of them had to be euthanized. In 2016, three monkeys there were found to have fractured limbs that went unnoticed until the animals were sedated for other tests. In 2014, 13 crab-eating macaques were baked to death at the same facility when no one noticed that thermostats had malfunctioned.

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 letters to Envigo and Orient are available here and here.

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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