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March 31, 2023
Fate of 1,200 Monkeys Unknown
About 1,200 monkeys once destined for use in labs are now at risk of being killed or returned to Cambodia where, if they survive the trip, they will likely be recycled back into the animal research supply pipeline. Purchased by Charles River Laboratories, the juvenile long-tailed macaques can’t be sold or used in experiments in the U.S. because the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) refused to give shipments of these monkeys clearance. The agency cited an ongoing investigation, likely related to the monkey trafficking scheme uncovered last year by the Department of Justice. Believed to be captured in the wild and then falsely labeled as purpose-bred, the macaques are currently being held at Charles River’s facilities in Houston, Texas.
The FWS made some inquiries about possibly releasing the monkeys to a sanctuary and spoke to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, which estimated that $125 million would be needed to acquire land, build facilities, and provide proper care. Reportedly, the FWS then decided to ship the monkeys back to Cambodia. Thankfully, following calls and e-mails from animal advocates, the FWS halted transport plans, for now. The fate of the 1,200 monkeys remains undetermined.
Monkeys are wild animals, regardless of whether or not they were born in captivity. These captured monkeys are surely suffering, scared of their new surroundings, and stressed from being confined. The safest place for these macaques is at a sanctuary. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has promised substantial funding if the monkeys are released to Born Free’s care, and AAVS has pledged to help as well. These monkeys have already been through so much but they have lots of people on their side. Meanwhile, the lab animal suppliers and researchers who are driving this intense demand for animals need to be held accountable for the cruel and allegedly illegal procurement of these monkeys.
The World Federation for Animals (WFA), of which AAVS is a founding member, has published “Unveiling the Nexus: The Interdependence of Animal Welfare, Environment & Sustainable Development.” This report outlines “the value of an animal welfare perspective for addressing the drivers of environmental challenges and sustainable development,” something that WFA was instrumental in getting the United Nations Environment Assembly to formally acknowledge.
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USDA officials, Drs. Elizabeth Goldentyer and Robert Gibbens, were subpoenaed by a federal grand jury over their inaction against animal research breeder Envigo, despite serious, repeated animal welfare violations. The move is part of a criminal investigation into Envigo by the Department of Justice, which discovered 446 dogs in “acute distress” and in need of immediate veterinary care after executing a search warrant at the breeder’s Virginia facility.
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North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance
We love when we hear that animals at a sanctuary AAVS supports are making new friends, especially for monkeys like Junior and Rocky, because their unlikely friendship reaches beyond their differences. Junior is a 16 year old pig-tailed/lion-tailed hybrid macaque, and was a pet who lived alone, likely never meeting another monkey until arriving at Primates Incorporated. Rocky is a rhesus macaque, who is also 16, and lived by himself at a laboratory.
Not living in social groups, Junior and Rocky didn’t get the chance to learn their species’ typical behavior and language, which can make it difficult to make friends. But the folks at Primates Incorporated made sure they could watch the other monkeys at the sanctuary, and as you can see from the image above, they have learned how wonderful it is to groom each other. Just look at Rocky’s face—he’s so content!
To read more about Junior and Rocky’s special friendship, check out Primate Incorporated’s blog post, and be sure to follow them on social media. They post often, so it’s a fun way to keep up with all the monkey action!