Sen. Bullard told The Dodo that since his appearance, Primera, the company planning the facility, still refuses to say where they will get the monkeys from, or how they will be treated. Even worse, no government agency has claimed responsibility for regulating the facility.
"There's no definitive government agency oversight," Bullard said. "A bunch of folks are saying that if something happened, we'd figure out what to do. But no one is claiming oversight - there are no check and balances here."
He noted that the introduction of 3,000 primates to the area could come along with several safety concerns. Among those are both animal welfare issues and the threat of zoonotic disease transferred from escaped monkeys to humans. He also noted that it's not clear where the monkeys will be sourced from (often, monkeys at facilities like these are taken from the wild).
Now, the proposed facility in Florida could be the next of these private breeding facilities. Bullard is hoping to convene a public hearing with the company and government agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health. "We're looking at a potentially hazardous set of circumstances," he said. "The public deserves to know the answers to these large-scale questions."
We've reached out to Primera/Prelabs for comment. You can send a letter calling for authorities to stop the construction of the Primera facility here.
But Primera isn't the only facility that breeds primates in the U.S. In fact, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service records, 18,682 non-human primates were imported to labs and lab suppliers in 2013.
There are 18 breeding facilities for non-human laboratory primates in the U.S., according to Justin Goodman, Director of the Laboratory Investigations Department for PETA. Eight of these are government-funded "National Primate Research Centers" that are based primarily at universities and are supported by the National Institutes of Health, while ten are private companies that both supply animals to labs and conduct their own experiments on them.
Several of these private facilities have been cited for animal welfare issues in the recent past. Here's a breakdown of the companies and their histories:
WARNING: Footage below contains disturbing images
1. Covance Research
Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, Covance has labs across the country and around the world. It imported 8,274 primates in 2013. One investigation found disturbing animal treatment at its Virginia facility: