DOJ Monkey-Laundering Indictments Prompt PETA to Demand Accountability From NIH

PETA Calls For Release of Monkeys Allegedly Smuggled Into U.S. to Feed Voracious Experimentation Industry

For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2022

Amanda Hays 202-483-7382


Today, PETA called on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine the precise origin of every long-tailed macaque imported from Cambodia since 2017 and currently in publicly funded laboratories. This demand follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) indictments last week of Cambodian government officials and nationals as well as the owner and staff of Vanny Bio Research (Cambodia) Corporation Ltd. (VBRC), a breeding farm that exports monkeys for use in laboratories in the U.S. and elsewhere. The DOJ alleges that the accused falsely labeled and sold wild-caught long-tailed macaques as captive-bred—felony violations of both the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act.

PETA notes that Inotiv, a major U.S. commercial monkey importer that regularly sells monkeys to NIH and other laboratories, admitted in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on November 16 that VBRC is its principal supplier of long-tailed macaques.

“PETA wants every single monkey who was smuggled into this country identified and released to a sanctuary,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “NIH must start with its own laboratories and then move on to all the labs it funds—and must pay for the lifetime care of every laundered monkey illegally brought to the U.S.”

The number of monkeys allegedly illegally imported from Cambodia is likely substantial. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics obtained by PETA show that the U.S. imported 34,534 monkeys from Cambodia in 2020 and 2021 alone. If a shipment of monkeys coming into the U.S. includes even one laundered wild-caught monkey, the entire transport permit is invalidated and every monkey in that shipment is considered “contraband” subject to seizure by federal officials.

PETA is also renewing its call for the CDC to suspend all monkey imports.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently announced that the conservation status of long-tailed macaques and pig-tailed macaques has changed from “vulnerable” to “endangered,” and it projected that the species’ wild populations will experience an additional decline of 50% over the next three generations of monkeys if current threats are not mitigated. Experimenters’ demand for these once-plentiful species is a major factor in their dramatic population crash.

Earlier this year, Inotiv closed its Virginia dog-breeding factory farm that supplied laboratories after the DOJ executed a search warrant, seized 446 beagles in acute distress, and filed a lawsuit against the company. An agreement led to the voluntary closure of the breeding farm and the release of the remaining 4,000 dogs for adoption. All this followed PETA’s undercover investigation revealing appalling conditions for dogs at the facility.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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