For Immediate Release:
April 18, 2022
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – PETA has obtained and reviewed documents revealing that in the midst of a global pandemic, dozens of shipments, with nearly 2,000 monkeys, were crisscrossing U.S. highways in violation of federal law. The animals were destined for use in experiments and were transported in trucks across the country without the veterinary inspections required under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
In response to the alarming findings, PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), calling on the agency to investigate primate laboratories for flouting federal laws designed to protect animals and the public from dangerous diseases. The group also asked that the USDA suspend the primate facilities’ licenses and pursue civil and/or criminal penalties when appropriate.
Federal law requires that all monkeys transported between laboratories and/or breeding facilities be examined by a veterinarian within 10 days of shipment to ensure that they’re healthy and not showing signs of disease that could infect humans or other monkeys. But documents show that this law was violated at least 56 times in the past 17 months alone. At least 1,881 monkeys who had not been examined within the required dates were trucked to and from multiple states, including Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. The vehicles carrying them crossed multiple states in between.
Facilities that failed to examine the monkeys within the required time included Charles River Laboratories, Labcorp Drug Development, the National Institutes of Health, Orient BioResource Center, PreLabs, and Primera Science Center.
“U.S. laboratories haven’t been able to prevent deadly pathogens from infecting the monkeys they cage and experiment on, yet they still put these animals on transport trucks crisscrossing the country,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “PETA is urging officials to investigate these brazen violations of federal laws immediately.”
PETA notes that monkeys who have tuberculosis, West Nile virus, malaria, Chagas disease, salmonellosis, herpes B, and other conditions that are transmissible to humans are in U.S. laboratories right now and have been transported via truck throughout the country. In 2019 and 2020, 227 shipments sent 60,546 monkeys to the U.S. from other countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The investigation request follows the January 21 crash of a truck carrying 100 monkeys in Pennsylvania. Three monkeys escaped and were shot on orders of the CDC, which had determined that they posed a public health risk. The long-tailed macaques, who came from Mauritius, had arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York that morning and had not yet been quarantined or tested for any pathogens that could endanger humans. Witnesses say that the crates holding the monkeys had no labels warning of potential danger or even indicating that they held monkeys.