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Florida Monkey Breeder Illegally Cut Fetuses out of Pregnant Monkeys and Sold Organs, Says Whistleblower

March 31, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

In a shocking new development in the MonkeyGate scandal in Hendry County, Florida, a former employee of Primate Products told WinkNews in an exclusive interview that vet technicians cut fetuses out of pregnant monkeys and sold the organs. His allegations dovetail with documents obtained by the TV station.

Macaque monkeys (photo: BUAV)

Macaque monkeys (photo: BUAV)

David Roebuck, who was a vet tech with Primate Products, said that he resigned from the company in disgust when he was asked to vacuum pack and freeze the livers, lungs, kidneys and brains of the aborted monkeys. Mr. Roebuck also said he was shocked to discover that the invasive surgeries were being performed by vet techs, not veterinarians.

David Roebuck resigned from Primate Products when he learned that fetuses were being cut out of pregnant monkies

David Roebuck resigned from Primate Products when he learned that fetuses were being cut out of pregnant monkies

Mr. Roebuck also said that vet techs killed the fetuses to prevent them from being born alive. Nursing infants, he explained, would reduce the supply of monkey milk that Primate Products has available to sell. On its website, Primate Products advertises “serum, plasma, and tissue samples from cynomolgus macaques and rhesus macaques.”

Primate Products is located on land zoned for “agricultural” use. Residents assert that conducting any procedure, much less invasive and lethal surgeries, constitutes a clear violation.

County officials have not yet announced what course of action they will take against Primate Products, but residents are demanding that the County halt the construction of several new buildings which would reportedly house between 5,000 – 14,000 additional monkeys. Hendry County residents only learned about this massive expansion when the organization Drones for Animal Defense released aerial footage. Residents are now conferring with lawyers to determine whether to seek an injunction or pursue other legal avenues to curb the expansion.

Drone footage of Monkey Breeding Facility under construction in Hendry County, FL

Drone footage of Monkey Breeding Facility under construction in Hendry County, FL

In November, 2014, three residents filed a lawsuit against Hendry County to halt construction of a different monkey breeding facility that county officials approved without holding a public hearing, which is required by Florida’s Sunshine Law. PreLabs, the Illinois-based company building the 43 acre Primera Science Center, is reportedly seeking to import 3,200 macaque monkeys from Mauritius, an island off the coast of Africa.
Primera Science Center is one of two monkey breeding facilities approved behind closed doors by Hendry County officials

Primera Science Center is one of two monkey breeding facilities approved behind closed doors by Hendry County officials

Hendry residents are enraged about the secrecy of county officials, who they say have consistently represented the interests of the monkey breeders over the public. Primate Products has made “large contributions” to the county — incentives residents believe are substantial enough for county officials to approve monkey facilities behind closed doors and turn a blind eye to the illegal activities being conducted inside.
Resident of Hendry County are now attending public meetings to air their opposition to the new monkey breeding facilities

Resident of Hendry County attend public meetings to air their opposition to the new monkey breeding facilities

Your Turn

1. Ask Hendry County’s five commissioners to stop the construction of the Primate Product expansion:,,,,

2. Tweet #MonkeyGate with this article and your thoughts on importing more monkeys into Florida to be bred for lab experiments.

Filed under: Experimentation
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New MonkeyGate Revelations: Breeding Facility Has Conducted Hundreds of Illegal Experiments

March 25, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

After TheirTurn broke the news that officials in Hendry County secretly approved a second new monkey breeding facility, several media outlets in Central Florida conducted their own investigations to confirm the report. What one TV station uncovered is sending shockwaves through the state of Florida.

According to USDA documents discovered by Wink News, Primate Products, a different monkey breeding facility in Hendry County, has conducted hundreds of experiments on monkeys — illegally. In a press conference on Tuesday, the County Administrator said that he had no knowledge of the experiments and that conducting them on land zoned for “agriculture” violates the law. As it is, area residents are arguing in an ongoing lawsuit against the County that breeding monkeys for lab experiments does not constitute “agriculture.”

The nature of the experiments is not revealed in the USDA documents, but Primate Products manufactures several products used in monkey testing, including restraint devices.

monkey restrainer for lab experiments

According to Primate Products, the restrainer provides “trouble-free accessibility”

The disturbing revelations about the existing monkey breeding facility, Primate Products, come just two days after Drones for Animal Defense released aerial footage of the new one under construction — adding to a growing scandal that is being dubbed by the local press as “MonkeyGate.”

The drone footage, taken by an activist who was chased for miles by company employees, not only confirms the existence of Bioculture’s new monkey breeding center, but it also shows its massive scale. An investigative reporter who has researched the BioCulture facility – Amir Shuan with Israel’s largest newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, has said that it has the capacity to house 14,000 monkeys, which is more than three times the number of primates already held captive in Hendry County.

Drone footage of Bioculture's Monkey Breeding Facility in Hendry County, FL

Drone footage of Bioculture’s partially-constructed monkey breeding facility in Hendry County, FL

On Monday, the same day that activists released the incriminating drone footage of the enormous facility under construction, county officials issued a press release denying that it’s new — stating that it is merely an expansion of Primate Products. During Tuesday’s press conference, however, Jane Velez-Mitchell of Jane UnChained challenged the county’s claim by pointing out that everything about Bioculture’s facility is new — the company, the buildings and the thousands of macaque monkeys that Bioculture hopes to import from overseas.

Today, the local Fire and Rescue District Commissioner, Matt Smith, gave area residents another reason to worry. In an interview with NewsPress, he said that first responders have not been briefed about how to handle emergencies at the facilities, echoing concerns raised by Velez-Mitchell at the earlier press conference: “In the event of a hurricane and the escape of hundreds or thousands of monkeys, what’s going to happen? Where’s the liability? Who’s ultimately responsible if these monkeys escape and bite people?”

Hundreds of non-native wild macaque monkeys with herpes B virus live in Florida (photo: Graham McGeorge/ Barcroft Media)

Hundreds of non-native wild macaque monkeys with herpes B virus live in Florida (photo: Graham McGeorge/ Barcroft Media)

Florida state senator Dwight Bullard added to the chorus of residents criticizing the secrecy of Hendry County officials, saying the “solution is transparency from the individuals and organizations who are seeking to have a positive relationship with the community.”

Florida state senator Dwight Bullard hits the airwaves to ask Hendry County to pause construction of Bioculture's monkey breeding facility

Florida state senator Dwight Bullard hits the airwaves in 2014 to ask Hendry County to pause construction of Bioculture’s monkey breeding facility

Amidst the revelations of illegal experiments, a lack of emergency preparedness, and secrecy surrounding two new monkey breeding facilities, Hendry County residents appear to be waging a war with their public officials until the County hits the pause button on the Bioculture’s new monkey breeding facility. 

Your Turn

Please sign petition asking Hendry County officials to  halt construction of new monkey breeding facility.

Filed under: Experimentation
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Moving Mountains for Monkeys

March 11, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

As efforts to build new monkey labs and breeding facilities in the U.S. have increased during the past several months, activist groups have taken to the streets, the courtroom and the internet in an effort to block them. Tensions are running high. Following are just a few of the battles being waged by activists on behalf of the monkeys.

Officials in Hendry County, Florida, already home to two monkey breeding facilities, have approved the construction of two more without soliciting feedback from area residents, a move that violates the state’s Sunshine Law. Florida’s Sunshine Law requires municipalities to hold public hearings on projects that impact local communities. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against Hendry County on behalf of angry residents.

Monkey breeding facility

Monkey breeding facility (Photo: Alon Ron, Haaretz)

Jane Velez-Mitchell of JaneUnchained recently traveled from New York to Florida to report on a court hearing on the case and the civil strife that accompanied it: “Watch as I try to get a comment from Hendry County’s lawyer, and see dozens of angry local residents swarm the county offices demanding answers!”

In November, The University of Washington decided to expand its primate research center to increase the number of monkeys it could accommodate. Activists with Campus Animal Rights Educators and No New Animal Lab have been fighting to stop the expansion, pointing to USDA citations, the deaths of several monkeys, including one from starvation, and evidence of a monkey who was euthanized after repeatedly harming himself.

Activists with No New Animal Lab drop a banner over a highway in Seatle

On March 8th, Activists with No New Animal Lab drop a banner over a highway in Seatle

Michael Budkie, President of the anti-vivisection group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW, says that the monkeys are highly stressed by captivity: “I can’t conceptualize the actual mental state of an animal that is so disturbed and mentally abnormal to literally be biting off pieces of his own fingers.”

lab monkey

Monkeys, who are highly social animals, are driven insane by lab experiments and intensive confinement

Since 1980, NIH researchers have used public funds to conduct maternal deprivation and isolation studies on infant monkeys. Video footage of the experiments is so disturbing that four members of Congress sent a letter to the NIH, which is based in Maryland, demanding an explanation. When the lead researcher, Stephen Suomi, made a presentation at the University of Michigan, activists disrupted his remarks four times to raise awareness of his barbaric experiments.

In a fascinating interview with Justin Goodman, PETA’s Director of Laboratory Investigations, Jane Velez-Mitchell shines a spotlight on Suomi’s studies and the deception that has enabled NIH researchers to spend 30 years and tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars on these experiments that have done nothing to improve human health.

Maternal Deprivation Study

NIH maternal deprivation study

Your Turn

The plight of animals in society is often ignored by the mainstream media. Given the enormity of the problem, the issues don’t receive the attention they deserve. That is what prompted Jane Velez-Mitchell to launch her own initiative to be the media for animals – JaneUnChained. But doing it on her own is unsustainable over the long term. Please see how you can help her be a permanent voice for the animals.

Filed under: Experimentation
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Anti-Fur Tactics in the Big (Red) Apple During Fashion Week

February 17, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

It’s Fashion Week in a frigid NYC, and the streets are covered in blood. And, while nothing short of an army of full time activists could stem the flow, the community is fighting back.

Earlier this week, TheirTurn reported on fur shaming as a tactic to stop people from wearing fur garments. Today, we look at other approaches to transform the Big Apple from red to green.

BILLBOARDS: PETA has erected a 90′ billboard in Times Square on which the musician Pink poses naked and says, “Be comfortable in your own skin, and let others keep theirs.”  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people will see – and perhaps think about and discuss – this provocative billboard.

PETA's Anti-fur billboard in Times Square (photo:Slobadan Randjelovic)

PETA’s Anti-fur billboard in Times Square (photo: Slobadan Randjelovic)

In December, Friends of Animals erected a “Flip Off” Fur billboard in Times Square and risked arrest with a bold protest inside of the Macy’s “Fur Vault.”

Friends of Animals (FOA) anti-fur billboard in Times Square

Friends of Animals (FOA) anti-fur billboard in Times Square

PROTESTS: Jane Velez-Mitchell of JaneUnchained has reported on several recent fur protests in New York. In this story, Jane covers a Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF) protest at the Fur Source, a store on which the activist community has declared war.

During fashion week, Viktor Luna, a designer who uses fur, staged a runway show on the backs of NYC’s beleaguered carriage horses. NYCLASS, an activist group working to ban horse-drawn carriages, held a protest in an attempt to disrupt the designer’s show and generate attention for the plight of the carriage horses.

Activists protest Viktor Luna's fashion show in which he used NYC's beleaguered carriage horses (photo: NY Daily News)

Designer Viktor Luna staged a fashion show on the backs of carriage horses. (photo: Daily News)

Caring Activists Against Fur Valentine's Day Protest (photo: Roberto Bonelli)

Caring Activists Against Fur Valentine’s Day Protest (photos: Roberto Bonelli)

ONE-ON-ONE ENGAGEMENT: Some activists shame people wearing fur; some wear anti-fur buttons; and some attempt to start a conversation with people wearing fur.

Sharing the message with a colleague while keeping it friendly

A TheirTurn reader (left) submitted this photo of herself with a fur wearer who was willing to not only listen but also pose for a post-discussion photo.

Your Turn

The winter of 2015 has brought out so much fur that activists are tearing out our own hair in frustration, but we can’t let that stop us. We must create an environment where people no longer feel comfortable wearing fur because they are either educated about the issue or afraid of the consequences. If you live someplace where people wear fur, please use whatever approach works best for you to be a voice for the animals who have every right to keep their skin.

Filed under: Clothes
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