Thursday, 2 June 2011

PETA Calls for Gov't Investigation Into Apparently Illegal Monkey Import Permit

Group Joins Sen. Melinda Romero Donnelly in an Outcry Against Permit Granted to Bioculture Puerto Rico, Inc. 

For Immediate Release:May 31, 2011
Contact:Robbyn Brooks 202-483-7382

San Juan, Puerto Rico — Today, PETA fired off an urgent letter to the Puerto Rico Department of Justice calling for a full investigation into an apparently illegal monkey import and export permit granted by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DRNA) to Bioculture Puerto Rico, Inc.—even though it would be illegal for Bioculture to operate in the city where the company is being built. PETA's complaint follows a similar request from Sen. Melinda Romero Donnelly, who states that the DRNA has no legal authority to grant Bioculture a permit to import animals and that the agency has ignored Bioculture's blatant and repeated violations of laws and regulations.

"The DRNA's full embrace of Bioculture is as troubling as it is meaningless," says PETA's Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "No permit could allow Bioculture to follow through with its plans—to tear monkeys away from their homes in the wild, breed them, and sell their babies for use in experiments—because all these shameful acts are illegal in Guayama."

Bioculture hopes to capture more than 4,000 monkeys from Mauritius, confine them to cages at the company's planned Guayama facility, and sell their offspring to U.S. and foreign laboratories for use in painful and deadly experiments. But last year, the Guayama government unanimously adopted municipal ordinances No. 9 and 11, Series 2010–2011, which explicitly ban the import, export, breeding, and use of monkeys in experiments within its territorial boundaries.

In addition, in November 2009, the Puerto Rico Senate Environmental Committee found that Bioculture's facility was improperly built on land that was not zoned for the business's purposes. PETA's challenge of the permit stopped construction. In March 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Bioculture thousands of dollars for violating the federal Clean Water Act. In October 2010, the Puerto Rico Senate approved R.S. 1514 to "[e]xpress the most forceful objection" to Bioculture's plans and to request that the U.S. government deny "any and all permit request by Bioculture Mauritius … with the purpose of importing Macaca fascicularis into Puerto Rico."

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