Experimenters Leave Sick, Injured Monkeys to Die; PETA Urges Colombian Authorities to Act

For Immediate Release:
May 14, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


PETA is calling on members of the Colombian government to stop the abduction of monkeys from forests for use in pointless experiments after discovering that 47 monkeys—most of them members of a now-endangered species—died and another 19 escaped in the space of a single year at just one experimentation facility.

PETA is urging officials to investigate credible evidence that numerous animal welfare, environmental, and public health regulations were flouted for years by the Fundación Instituto de Inmunología de Colombia facility in Leticia. For four decades, the facility has captured and confined monkeys in an effort to produce a malaria vaccine for humans. The effort has failed so far. But one of the monkey species used by the facility’s founder and director, Manuel Elkin Patarroyo Murillo, is now endangered.

PETA’s calls for accountability should be of particular interest because Colombia is set to host the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity later this year in Cali—the same city where 108 monkeys were rescued from another decrepit facility, the Caucaseco Scientific Research Center, which had used them in pointless malaria experiments.

“Monkeys confined to this ramshackle torture center suffer miserably with ailments and injuries that are ignored, and not a single treatment for humans has resulted from this torment,” says Dr. Magnolia Martínez, Lead Projects Manager and Congressional Liaison with PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department  “PETA is calling on Colombian authorities to take swift action to investigate this facility’s questionable practices, end its decades-long exploitation of wildlife, and protect monkeys in the wild from abuse and extinction.”

Monkeys are confined to cages at the Fundación Instituto de Inmunología de Colombia facility. The cages have sections covered in rust and no water bottles installed in the doors. Image obtained by PETA through an open records request

The 47 monkeys who died at the facility between March 2021 and May 2022 include some who were denied veterinary care and were left to die of tetanus or sepsis or were found dead in cages with signs of violence, PETA states in the letter. Another 19 monkeys escaped through openings in the walls and ceilings.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kitsfor people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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