Here Are The 18 Breeding Facilities Responsible For Importing 18,000 Lab Monkeys Each Year
The future of 3,000 monkeys hangs on the outcome of a political battle in Hendry County, Florida, where a proposed lab primate breeding facility is gaining national attention.
The mysterious facility has refused to divulge information about its plans, and has drawn the ire of many who fear for the safety both of the primates and the local community. Dwight Bullard, member of the Florida State Senate, has taken the issue head-on, even appearing on Headline News to discuss it.
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:
2. Charles River Laboratories
Charles River also has labs internationally and across the country. It imported 5,788 primates in 2013, according to government records. As the world's largest breeder of lab animals, Charles River supplies one out of every two animals used in experimentation. The company has seen citations for several Animal Welfare Act violations, including a 2009 incident during which 32 unattended monkeys were "baked alive" when a thermostat malfunctioned.
Headquartered in Tokyo and with international labs in the U.S., SNBL imported 2,865 primates in 2013. A 2011 undercover investigation at its Washington facility revealed injured animals living in cramped cages and poor conditions.
4. Buckshire Corporation
Located in Pennsylvania, Buckshire imported 626 primates in 2013. PETA conducted several investigations of Buckshire in the 1990s and in 2008 helped rescue seven chimpanzees locked in a basement laboratory there.
5. Primate Products
Located in Florida, Primate Products imported 340 primates in 2013. Photos taken by animal activists in 2010 showed horrific injuries to animals at the facility. You can find those here(WARNING: graphic).
6. Worldwide Primates
Also located in Florida, Worldwide Primates imported 265 primates in 2013. The owner of the company, Matthew Block, was convicted in 1995 for illegally catching and selling endangered species.
7. Shared Enterprises
Located in Pennsylvania, Shared Enterprises imported 208 primates in 2013.
8. Barton's West End Farms
Located in New Jersey, Barton's imported 136 primates in 2013. When the government inspected Barton's New Jersey facility in 2013, they found 6 found instances in which Barton was not complying with the Animal Welfare Act.
9. Valley Biosystems
Located in California, Valley Biosystems imported 107 primates in 2013.
10. Alpha Genesis