For Immediate Release:
May 4, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Miami – Please see the following statement from PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel regarding videos shown in the matter before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 21, involving defendant Masphal Kry, deputy director of the Department of Wildlife and Biodiversity for the Cambodian Forestry Administration:
Cruelty, corruption, and apparent violations of national and international laws seem to be the norm in the primate experimentation industry. These endangered monkeys are forced to endure corruption, misery, violence, disease, and death as they are ripped away from their forest homes and/or confined on fetid breeding farms and then crated and shipped thousands of miles on a one-way trip to U.S. laboratories to be used in experiments that consistently fail to lead to meaningful treatments for humans.
The videos introduced during the suppression hearing in the case, which were filmed by the U.S. government’s confidential informant in Cambodia, offer a glimpse of what the industry has so desperately tried to obscure. In them, you can hear Masphal Kry saying, “Do more business …. [You will] make more money …. if you make another road … for your smuggling,” and you can see allegedly wild-caught monkeys, smuggled through the back roads, crammed into cages that are wedged in Kry’s truck. Off screen, you hear the sounds of monkeys crying in fear, anger, and despair. Kry allegedly delivered these monkeys to the Pursat facility, owned by Vanny Bio Research in Cambodia. This is the operation, named in the U.S. Department of Justice November 2022 indictment, where it’s alleged that the identification collars were removed from captive-bred monkeys and placed around the necks of wild-caught monkeys so that the latter could be passed off as captive-bred. This facility is the last biosafety checkpoint for monkeys before they’re loaded into planes and sent to the U.S. We only see it from the outside, but the peeling paint, stacks of rusted and bent metal cages, and reports of animals so sick or disease-ridden that they are “disqualified” for exports present a grim image.
For years, PETA has been relentless in exposing and illuminating the darkest and most dangerous corners of the monkey-trafficking industry. On the heels of our formal petitions to grant protections to these monkeys under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acknowledged that long-tailed macaques are considered endangered, issuing a recommendation for the 32nd meeting of the CITES Animals Committee to crack down on illegal laundering of these animals. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lisette M. Reid in Miami heard closing arguments in the suppression hearing last week by Kry’s deep-pocketed defense team and the assistant U.S. attorney. Judge Reid is expected to issue a written report soon.