Close to 100 people showed up for the Commissioner's meeting on Tuesday, January 12th in Hendry County. Those confronting the Commissioners included concerned people who live near the facility and others who traveled quite a distance to speak out against these businesses housing thousands of monkeys. Many of the monkeys were torn from their families in the wild! Why the sudden outcry? Great question! It's because some of these facilities have been in this very rural and poor Florida county for almost two decades with few people awar e of their existence. The operations were cloaked in secrecy so no one really knew what was happening on this property! Neighbors and citizens were never alerted to the fact that County leaders planned to expand these monkey testing businesses allowing for FOUR different companies to operate in South Florida.
Side note: if this expansion goes through, Hendry County could house up to 10,000 monkeys, making it a hub in the nation’s supply chain.
A few things happened that blew the lid on government's big secret. It began with the discovery of the secret approval for two more businesses to open its doors. Then, a whistle-blower who worked at one of the facilities - Primate Products, Inc. came forward and shared horrific details of what this company was doing to sentient, emotional and highly intelligent monkeys. The former vet tech, David Roebuck stated workers at Primate Products’ “Panther Tracks” facility located near Immokalee were regularly told to perform C-section abortions on pregnant female monkeys, remove the dead fetus, then package it for sale to buyers. Roebuck said milk was then extracted from the female cytomologus monkeys using human breast pumps. The milk was then sold to laboratories.
This is where improper land use comes in on this issue. The more than 600-acre property is agriculturally zoned for animal husbandry. If the company is conducting animal tests or experiments it is violating the agricultural zoning code. But, they have a way around this in their amazing game of semantics. The owner of Primate Products, Inc. can just say all those invasive procedures listed above are "standard usage" and not "experiments."
When you really begin to dig into this issues, you will find all kinds of links between government and business with little regard given to public safety and health. People living in close proximity this property now have to worry about water contamination, monkeys escaping and the possibility of an Ebola outbreak.
Here are a few quick facts:
These facilities are not benefiting mankind. They are comprising our health, they are comprising our morals and they are comprising the integrity of Florida leaders. We have created a website - FREETHEMONKEYS.com dedicated to this cause. We will post upcoming meetings, protests, petitions, ways to help and more. We also have a Facebook page to keep everyone informed and up-to-date.
We are joining the fight to keep this issue in the spotlight! We want to draw as much national attention as possible and expose these businesses as unsafe and ineffective. We will speak out and organize high-profile ways to stop these facilities from coming to Florida.
You can help us! Join our mailing list and let us know you want to get involved. Donate to the cause so we can heighten our visibility and voice! We can make a difference, but not without your help. Stay tuned as we will reveal our next step very soon.