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Cruel monkey farms on trial in Hendry County

by David Thompson Monday, Jun. 27, 2016 at 5:37 PM

Brutal monkey breeder plans exposed by Animal Defenders International

Cruel monkey farms o...
screen_shot_2016-06-27_at_5.36.57_pm.png, image/png, 659x398

A case opened today to determine whether Hendry County illegally approved permits for farms breeding and supplying thousands of monkeys for experimentation. The lid on Florida’s controversial monkey breeders was first blown after Animal Defenders International (ADI) exposed horrific treatment at Mauritian-based US supplier Biodia and their plans to set up in the state two years ago.

ADI revealed workers swinging screaming monkeys by their tails; distressed baby monkeys torn from the arms of their desperate mothers and tattooed without anesthetic; monkeys injected in the eyelids for TB tests; monkeys restrained and injected in view of other animals; animals captured from the wild and used as breeding machines; barren, crowded cages; animals killed and injured from fighting; stressful separation of mothers and babies; rough handling; monkeys wrenched from cages by their tails; netted animals slammed onto concrete floors; heavily pregnant monkeys manhandled and pinned down.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Floridians have until now been denied a voice on whether these cruel monkey farms should be built on their doorstep. We hope this trial will bring justice to the people and importantly the thousands of monkeys facing a life of brutality.”

Nearly 20,000 primates are imported into the U.S. each year. Mauritius is the second largest supplier after China, and supplied 2,842 animals in 2013, with Biodia supplying 300-600 monkeys each year. Imported monkeys are either sent directly to laboratories for cruel experiments, or are used to breed babies who will end up in laboratories. ADI revealed that Biodia’s U.S. trading partner Prelabs planned to “establish the first Mauritius breeding colony in the U.S.” in Labelle, Florida.

Over 70,000 monkeys are used in experiments in the U.S. each year. These intelligent, social animals are force-fed chemicals, injected with potentially poisonous substances and electrodes are implanted into their brains. They cry out as they are strapped into restraint chairs to immobilize them for cruel experiments; some experience such extreme fear and distress when being restrained that they suffer rectal prolapses. In experiments studied by ADI, monkeys were killed after suffering blocked lungs, trembling, collapse and bleeding. Terrified monkeys awaiting experiments self-mutilated and one animal chewed his finger to the bone.

Most monkeys are killed at the end of the experiments, but others are forced to endure years of deprivation in barren cages, with nothing to interest them; fights often occur and monkeys under attack cannot escape due to restricted cage space. Many have been seen performing abnormal behaviors associated with psychological damage.

International regulatory bodies, scientists and governments around the world are moving away from monkey experiments and adopting the advanced alternatives which are available. The European Union has ended the use of apes and wild caught monkeys, placed restrictions on monkey experiments and is phasing out the trade in monkeys born to wild caught parents.

There are a number of alternatives available to replace monkey experiments, including: microdosing, where tiny amounts of new drugs are safely given to human volunteers - significantly more accurate at assessing the way a product is absorbed, broken down and passed through the body than primate models; biochips, which mimic human organs on USB-sized chips “providing comprehensive toxicity data very quickly and cheaply”, 3-D tissue engineering using human cells; and QSAR which predicts the toxicity of drugs through comparison with similar substances.

In the 2-day bench trial Circuit Court Judge James D. Sloan will hear the case from Animal Legal Defense Fund and local landowners determine whether Hendry County violated Florida’s Sunshine Law by permitting the SoFlo Ag and Bioculture/Panther Tracts primate breeding facilities in closed-door meetings, without the required public notice or hearings.

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