Primate Scientist Brings the Heat at Charles River Annual Meeting, Says Company Misrepresents Facts

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2024

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel gave an earful to the leadership of Charles River Laboratories during the company’s annual meeting, pointing out that it misleads shareholders by not saying exactly where its imported monkeys come from or which deadly pathogens they harbor.

Birgit Girshick, Charles River’s chief operating officer, was visibly uncomfortable under the scrutiny and later said only that the company had never “knowingly” misrepresented anything.

That runs contrary to a 2023 investigation by a European animal protection group revealing that Noveprim Ltd., the monkey warehouse in Mauritius that Charles River boasts about acquiring, captures monkeys in their natural homes with unknown health histories.

When Jones-Engel raised the issue of the poor science that underlies the use of wild-caught monkeys, who are more likely to harbor viruses that could compromise experimental data, Girshick avoided her questions by saying that Charles River has a different “philosophy” than PETA does.

“Charles River’s vague statements at yesterday’s meeting should worry shareholders and the public, who have a right to know how many endangered monkeys it’s abducting from the wild or importing infected with diseases,” says Jones-Engel. “PETA is calling on the company to come clean about the devastating effects its alleged monkey laundering has on both monkeys and public health and what it plans to do about it.”

A family of long-tailed macaques. ©

Charles River, the largest primate experimenter in the country, is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is also under civil and criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for importing and selling countless endangered long-tailed macaques who may have been illegally abducted from their forest homes and falsely labeled as animals bred in captivity.

Monkeys infected with a bacterium so deadly that the U.S. classifies it as a bioterrorism agent and monkeys infected with tuberculosis—a highly infectious disease readily transmissible to humans—have already been imported to North American labs.

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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