The animal rights organization says it has identified 56 clear violations of federal animal welfare regulations involving more than 1,880 presidents.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate what it claims are widespread and clear violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
This law was enacted to ensure the safe and legal movement of monkeys throughout the United States.
The request was made Monday in a letter sent by Cathy Guillermo, PETA’s senior vice president to the USDA.
The investigation was sought in the wake of the January 21 incident near Danville, Montour Cogne, in which three of the 100 lab funds transported in a trailer were caught and murdered by state police.
That incident, Guillermo wrote, “prompted the mysterious world of primate transfer to the public eye.”
She said 100 long-tailed macaques represent only a tiny fraction of the total number of monkeys transported through the United States annually.
She said PETA, through the Freedom of Information Act, has received certificates documenting veterinary examination required to move primates between facilities.
The letter said that those documents, which covered a period of 17 months, included primates from five research facilities or dealers in five states.
The primates were shipped to nine research facilities or intermediate processors in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to BETA.
He also noted that primate-carrying vehicles crossed several other states.
Facilities that have claimed to have failed to screen monkeys within the required time include Charles River Laboratories, Drug Development Labcorp, the National Institutes of Health, Orient BioResource Center, PrepLabs, and Primera Science Center.
The letter states that the failure of USDA-certified veterinarians to conduct timely inspections of primates poses a significant risk to them during transportation and to the monkeys at the destination facility.
“The public health risks to transmission, breeding, and research staff are clear,” Pettas says.
Guillermo urged the agency not only to launch an investigation into cases with PETA documents, but to open a broader investigation into the pattern of veterinarians, dealers and research facilities that failed to support requirements for primate transport inspections.
The monkeys involved in the Danville crash had just arrived in the country from Mauritius, an island off the African coast. They have not been isolated or tested for any pathogens that could endanger humans.
Michelle Fallon, the Montour County woman who needed medical treatment after coming into contact with monkeys, says she has made a full recovery.
But she said she remains disappointed that the US Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not respond to her questions such as whether any of the monkeys had been infected.
Fallon saw the accident on Route 54 at the Interstate 80 junction and stopped to help.
She had been in direct contact with a cynomolgus macaque and was exposed to saliva, excrement and excrement while helping to straighten boxes containing the primates.
She tested negative for the herpes B virus but had to undergo a series of rabies shots. Her right eye was irritated and watery for a while.
Repeated attempts by PennLive to learn from the USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that another 97 monkeys were isolated after the accident and if any of them became infected failed.
PETA previously asked the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Department of Agriculture to investigate the treatment and transfer of primates.
Lisa Jones-Engle, FAO’s chief scientific advisor for primate experiments, said the USDA considers it an “open issue”, prohibiting any documentation from being made available.
She said PETA met with the Department of Transportation in early March on the larger issue of a lack of oversight, awareness, consensus, leadership and consistency when it comes to the movement of monkeys across the country.
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