Animal Defenders International (ADI), an animal welfare organization, has exposed one U.S. company's plan to build a lab monkey factory farm in Florida, according to a new report. ADI found that Prelabs, a company that contracts out primates for testing and research, has been developing plans for its own monkey breeding operation, based on the current methods of one of its business partners, a Mauritian company called Biodia.
ADI recently concluded an undercover investigation of Biodia, which runs a large-scale factory farm that exports hundreds of long-tailed macaques to the U.S. for lab use each year. The organization found that monkeys experienced "horrific treatment" at the farm: animals were subject to a host of abuses, from living in stuffy, cramped cages to being held by the tail and slammed against concrete floors.
ADI released its findings just days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced that monkey imports are on the rise; according to the organization's estimates, approximately 3,000 lab monkeys come from Mauritius each year. (The same country where the dodo bird went extinct.)
"Floridians will be horrified to hear about plans to set up a new monkey farm on their doorstep," Jan Creamer, ADI's president, said in a statement:
Female monkeys will be locked in tiny boxes and flown thousands of miles from Mauritius to breed babies for experiments if these plans go ahead. The poor U.S. regulations on primate experiments and imports are shameful, allowing unnecessary suffering, fear, pain and distress to intelligent and highly developed animals when alternatives already exist.
Creamer maintained that the problem is not simply importing monkeys for use in lab experiments, but using them in experiments at all. "As other nations move away from primate research, the US remains in the scientific backwater, clinging to crude, outdated methods instead of advanced technology," she said. "This trade is cruel and unjustified."