Local Zika Transmission Prompts PETA Ads Warning About Florida’s Monkey Prisons

Florida Mosquitoes Are Spreading Disease—and Hendry County’s Monkey Facilities Could Easily Become a Zika Reservoir

For Immediate Release:
August 11, 2016

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Hendry County, Fla.

As the Zika threat in Florida ramps up—the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that infected mosquitoes are now transmitting the virus within the state—PETA is launching an ad campaign warning residents of the Zika threat posed by three massive monkey facilities in Hendry County and is calling on the Florida Department of Health to take action.

The ad, which will run in The South Florida Sun Times today and the Caloosa Belle next week, alerts residents that the Zika virus may be incubating at nearby monkey dealers, which include the notorious Primate Products, Inc. (PPI). These facilities confine thousands of monkeys used for breeding and experiments to unhygienic, outdoor open-air cages surrounded by swamps and lakes, and PPI in particular has been plagued by improper drainage and standing water—all conditions ripe for mosquito breeding and the infection of large populations of captive monkeys who, like humans, are natural hosts of the Zika virus and can be infected by mosquitoes.

In a letter sent today, PETA is also urging the Department of Health to shut down these dealers as a basic precautionary measure to protect the public’s health. This latest push follows a PETA demonstration earlier this week calling attention to the threat posed by the monkey facilities. It was held outside a health clinic in Wynwood where Hillary Clinton was speaking.

“Now that mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus within Florida, it’s only a matter of time before Hendry County’s squalid monkey prisons turn into a reservoir for the disease,” says PETA senior laboratory oversight specialist Dr. Alka Chandna. “PETA is calling on Florida health officials to shut down these cruel and dangerous facilities immediately, before this public health crisis grows even worse.”

PETA warned the Florida state surgeon general of the disease risk presented by the Hendry County monkey facilities as far back as February. Symptoms in monkeys could easily go undetected, and thousands of animals could be infected with Zika without facility operators’ knowledge—posing a risk to employees, their families, and nearby residents.

For more information, please visit PETA.org/PPI.

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