On 28th November 2023, Brazoria County, Texas, US commissioners unanimously voted to support a resolution recommending that state and federal authorities not issue permits to build a proposed concrete monkey facility on environmentally sensitive land. The vote came after residents and animal rights organisations such as PETA pressured the commission not to allow the company Charles River Laboratories to open this new monkey breeding facility for vivisection.
Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, PETA primate scientist, said, “PETA applauds Brazoria County officials for taking the first step to block this ethical, public health, and ecological disaster. Federal officials, along with those from the state of Texas, should follow their lead and stop this tragedy from unfolding.”
PETA sent 4,000 letters to county residents alerting them to the dangers of the massive monkey-importation and breeding warehouse that Charles River Laboratories, under the incorporated name Kandurt LLC, proposes to build on more than 500 acres of ecologically sensitive land with old-growth forest. The property targeted for the facility borders land owned and protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.
Dr Jones-Engel spoke at the commissioners’ November 14 meeting about the dangers that the facility could pose to both humans and other animals in the area. The proposed facility would generate biological waste and introduce monkeys’ saliva, blood, and other bodily fluids into the environment, and animals imported into the US by Charles River have carried deadly diseases that can spread to humans and other animals. Monkeys involved in the wildlife trade for experimentation are known to carry and transmit pathogens of diseases such as herpes B, tuberculosis, Ebola, simian haemorrhagic fever, shigellosis, salmonellosis, Campylobacter, malaria, and dengue. Monkeys could also escape as has happened at other primate laboratories in Texas.
According to PETA, Charles River is currently under federal investigation over the alleged illegal smuggling of long-tailed macaques, an endangered species, from Asia to sell to US laboratories.