Are Monkeys at Primate Products Infected With the Novel Coronavirus? PETA Demands Documentation

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

For Immediate Release:
April 21, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Immokalee, Fla. – 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 Primate Products, Inc. (PPI), to suspend all experiments and to 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—PPI 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 2014 and 2015, PETA’s eight-month undercover investigation documented systemic neglect and violent handling of monkeys at PPI. Sick and injured primates were denied adequate veterinary care and forced to live in filthy, barren, and dangerous conditions, and workers failed to separate animals who had been attacked by aggressive cagemates, leaving them with exposed bones, bite wounds, and hair loss. After PETA shared its documentation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a team of six agency inspectors conducted a three-day inspection of PPI and cited the facility for at least 25 violations of federal animal welfare regulations.

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 PPI is available here.

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“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