5 min read

U.S. 'Monkey Farm' Is Breeding Monkey Babies To Sell Off Their Body Parts

<p> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankaronline/11464226833">Flickr/shankar s.</a> </p>

Revolting surgical procedures are being carried out at a facility in Florida's growing lab monkey hub, a former worker has revealed.

Vet technician David Roebuck told local news station WINK News that his job at Primate Products included performing regular C-section abortions on late-term pregnant female monkeys. The company then dissected the babies to harvest their organs, which they freeze dried and sold to pharmaceutical companies.

With the babies out of the way, the facility collected the mother monkeys' milk, using human breast pumps, to sell as well.

Roebuck quit his job after just two days because he was so horrified by what the company was asking him to do to the long-tailed macaques.

"When I got involved in that, I knew I just couldn't live with myself if I was going to be doing that," he told WINK News, adding that the facility had two deep freezers filled with baby monkey parts.

The procedures could be illegal as the facility's land is zoned for agriculture, which is already a stretch considering monkeys aren't agricultural animals.

And a USDA report obtained by WINK News last week, which confirms Roebuck's account, reveals that the facility has carried out hundreds of experiments and procedures on its monkeys unbeknownst to local officials, which could violate zoning restrictions.

The breeding facility's ostensible purpose is to sell monkeys to labs for research, and those animals won't fare any better. Lab animals are often subjected to painful surgical procedures or outright physical abuse, sometimes with no or insufficient anaesthetic, and experience significant psychological distress.

Primate Products, which also harvests monkey blood and spinal fluid, is just one of several lab monkey "breeders" packed into Hendry County, Florida. Both activists and concerned citizens have criticized the county for its apparent determination to turn itself into an international hub for lab monkey breeding, and for the secrecy of its dealings with these companies.

In March, it came to light that Primate Products, in a move kept secret from the public, is leasing part of its 620-acre campus - which already houses 1,700 monkeys - to a foreign company called BioCulture for a second monkey facility.

And late last year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Hendry County over its approval of yet another lab monkey breeding facility, which would hold 3,200 more monkeys, alleging that the county violated the state's Sunshine Law by keeping negotiations and approval largely hidden from the public.

The lawsuit, which received the go-ahead from a judge last month, also cites the shadowy nature of the breeding company in question, which listed a UPS mailbox as its headquarters on official documents and has variously been referred to as Primera, PreLabs and a mysterious entity known only as "SoFlo Ag LLC."

"The Western world is moving away from primate testing," journalist and animal activist Jane Velez-Mitchell told The Dodo last month. "The idea that Florida wants to become a hub for breeding monkeys for these tortuous experiments is very concerning."