All the Animals Formerly Imprisoned at This Ramshackle Facility, Including 108 Monkeys Who Were in Poor Health, Have Now Been Rescued
For Immediate Release:
April 4, 2023
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Cali, Colombia – Yesterday, local authorities and the city of Cali’s Administrative Unit of Animal Protection seized all 180 mice still confined on the Caucaseco Scientific Research Center (Caucaseco) campus.
The mice, who would have been used in experiments funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), are now living at the city’s recently opened Animal Welfare Center.
The rescue follows a PETA-prompted seizure of 108 monkeys from the Fundación Centro de Primates (FUCEP), an NIH-funded laboratory on the same campus. Officials also recently shut down the campus for 10 days because the facility didn’t meet sanitary and safety regulations. Both Caucaseco and FUCEP are at the heart of an 18-month PETA investigation that drove Colombian authorities and elected leaders to act.
“Colombian officials took action after PETA provided evidence, and now all the animals have been rescued from this filthy, ramshackle torture center,” says Dr. Magnolia Martínez, PETA’s lead projects manager and congressional liaison. “PETA thanks Cali for what turned out to be the city’s largest animal rescue ever—and asks why the U.S. is still bankrolling this mess.”
Witnesses say the mice didn’t have enough water, and PETA’s investigation revealed that some had resorted to cannibalism. Former employees allege that because someone failed to separate males from females, the mouse population exploded to 700 between summer and fall 2021. As a result, there were up to 30 mice in boxes designed for a maximum of five. Sócrates Herrera Valencia and Myriam Arévalo Ramírez, the husband-and-wife owners of the facilities, allegedly ordered that more than half the mice be killed.
PETA had previously filed a complaint with NIH urging it to stop funding Caucaseco and FUCEP and requested that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases investigate Herrera and Arévalo for apparent misuse of funds.
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. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that NIH does not ensure that laboratories outside the U.S. comply with either local laws or NIH requirements.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. 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.