PETA Is Urging NIH to Stop Funding the Heads of the Facility Immediately and Investigate an Apparent Misappropriation of Funds
For Immediate Release:
January 30, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – Following an 18-month PETA investigation, authorities have ordered a monkey laboratory in Colombia run by two malaria experimenters and funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to end all experiments on animals and have declared their intent to seize the monkeys.
The Colombian regional environmental agency, Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca (CVC), inspected the monkey laboratory Fundación Centro de Primates (FUCEP), which is associated with Centro de Investigación Científica Caucaseco, on January 16 and has just released its damning report.
PETA is now working with Colombian authorities, lawmakers, and primate experts to oversee the removal of the monkeys from the custody of husband-wife duo Sócrates Herrera Valencia (Herrera) and Myriam Arévalo Ramírez (Arévalo).
CVC inspectors documented the unexplained disappearance of 21 monkeys in less than 14 months and an across-the-board lack of documentation, including veterinary records. Inspectors also discovered a dead baby monkey, a monkey missing an eye, and monkeys confined in horrific, apparently illegal conditions.
“We’re grateful to local authorities for acting quickly to cut this horrendous operation off at the knees,” says Dr. Magnolia Martínez, lead projects manager with PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. “PETA is now calling on NIH to cease its funding immediately, and we’re focusing on getting the monkeys out of this hellhole.”
PETA is calling on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to pull its funding for Herrera and Arévalo’s operations immediately and for an investigation of their misuse of funds. Last month, PETA filed a complaint with NIH demanding that it stop funding the facility immediately.
PETA’s exhaustive investigation into FUCEP revealed that monkeys were deliberately infected with the malaria parasite and that their spleens were surgically removed before the animals were killed. Other monkeys were simply left to die from infected wounds. The investigation also found that tiny owl monkeys were held in rusty cages amid their own waste in a makeshift pen made of backyard fencing and plastic sheets and were 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.
PETA’s letter is available here. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.