Monkey Dead After Delay-Plagued, Cross-Country Transport to UW; PETA Calls For Investigation

For Immediate Release:
May 15, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


In a letter sent today, PETA urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the death of a young endangered monkey during a 30-hour trip by truck from Arizona to the Washington National Primate Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Records obtained by PETA reveal that the monkey, a 3-year-old pig-tailed macaque from a university-run, taxpayer-funded breeding facility located on tribal lands in Mesa, Arizona, was boxed up and loaded with 67 other monkeys onto a vehicle used by JKL Secure Freight on September 28. The temperature in Mesa that day was 102 degrees.

A whistleblower reported that the truck was delayed for five hours when its engine failed. All 68 monkeys were left in the vehicle in the sweltering heat, without air conditioning for part of the time. The truck was further delayed when it later blew a tire, according to the whistleblower.

Primate center veterinarians failed to identify the monkey’s cause of death, though plant material was found in her lungs and her body showed signs of dehydration. 

The day her body arrived in Seattle, another young monkey in the university’s laboratory was loaded onto a vehicle, presumably the same JKL truck, and sent to Charles River Laboratories in Reno, Nevada. The whistleblower also said that the trucks aren’t adequately sanitized between runs.

“This monkey took her final, desperate breaths in agony, ignored for over 1,000 miles on a truck packed with other monkeys,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “The University of Washington had a dead monkey delivered to it and, apparently without a second thought, handed JKL another monkey for transport to Charles River Laboratories.”

Within days of the monkey’s death, simian varicella virus was identified in the university’s pig-tailed macaque colony. The virus, spread through the air, is highly contagious and deadly. Reports suggest that the virus was already circulating in the colony when the monkey was transported.

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 Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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