For Immediate Release:
February 17, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – Earlier today, authorities from the Colombian regional environmental agency Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca (CVC) raided the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded laboratory of two malaria experimenters and seized over 100 tiny owl monkeys held there following a damning 18-month PETA investigation.
The monkeys are now recovering at the CVC’s wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.
The seizure comes after the CVC ordered the laboratory, Fundación Centro de Primates (FUCEP), to end all experiments on monkeys in the wake of its inspection report documenting such atrocities as 21 missing monkeys; a dead baby monkey; a monkey missing an eye; a lack of documentation, including veterinary records; and squalid, apparently illegal, conditions.
“Colombian officials acted quickly to seize these vulnerable monkeys and shut down this laboratory, but the same can’t be said for NIH, which still appears to be funding it,” says Dr. Magnolia Martínez, lead projects manager and congressional liaison with PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. “PETA is doubling down on its demand that the funding pipeline to sordid foreign laboratories like FUCEP cease now.”
PETA filed a complaint with NIH last month requesting that it stop funding FUCEP. PETA is also requesting that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases investigate the experimenters, husband-wife duo Sócrates Herrera Valencia and Myriam Arévalo Ramírez, for apparent misuse of funds.
PETA’s exhaustive investigation into FUCEP revealed that monkeys had been deliberately infected with the malaria parasite and that their spleens had been surgically removed. Other monkeys were simply left to die from infected wounds. The investigation also found that the monkeys were held in rusty cages amid their own waste in a makeshift pen made of backyard fencing and plastic sheets and fed dog kibble soaked in sugary water.
NIH spent $279 million in 2022 to fund 742 research grants in Colombia and 63 other countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, and Vietnam. The agency has no oversight mechanisms for foreign organizations that receive American taxpayer money.