The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has filed a lawsuit against a county in Central Florida for failing to hold a public hearing about the construction of a 32 acre monkey breeding facility.
In a statement to the press, Hendry County claims that seeking public input for an “agriculture” facility is not required by law. Some locals suspect that the County intentionally kept the project a secret, knowing that members of the public would oppose the presence of monkeys who could carry infectious diseases in residential area. Florida already has a population over 1,000 non-native wild macaques, many of whom carry the hepatitis B virus, according to published reports.
Primera Science Center, the company building the breeding center, reportedly intends to transport 3,200 macaque monkeys from Mauritius, an island off the coast of Africa, to Florida, where they will be bred and sold to laboratories for use in experiments. The macaques, who will presumably have direct contact with workers, can carry infectious diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis.
Dwight Bullard, the State Senator who represents the area, has called for the project to be delayed until Primera and Hendry County provide more information about how public safety will be protected: “We are calling on Primera to hold a public meeting with the state and federal agencies that will be involved in the safety and care of these primates during their time at this facility. If primates get loose, what does that mean to the surrounding counties in terms of potential outbreaks?”
In a statement to the press, Primera says it “is in full compliance with the rules, guidelines and laws at the local, state and federal levels” and that it “is committed to meeting the highest standards with the utmost respect for the safety and preservation of the surrounding environment and its residents.”
To see the lawsuit in its entirety and the statement released by Hendry County in response to the suit, please visit news-press.com.
Please ask Hendry County officials to halt the construction of Primera’s monkey breeding facility until the County and company provide the public with an answers to its questions and gives local residents the opportunity to provide input at a public hearing.