Victory! Puerto Rican Residents Win First Battle Against
After nearly six months of pressure from PCRM and other
judge last week ordered a temporary halt to construction of
primate-breeding facility in the Puerto Rican town of Guayama that has
raised serious health and environmental concerns among local residents.
The decision by Judge Juan Frau Escudero of Guayama's Superior Court is
latest development in a lawsuit filed against Bioculture, Ltd., by
Rico residents who say the company has not submitted a full
impact statement or held public hearings. Judge Escudero's
cites irregularities in the permitting process, follows a
report from the
Puerto Rico Senate that found strong evidence that
misleading and contradictory information to obtain
permits for the project.
Bioculture, a Mauritius-based company that ships macaque monkeys around
the world for use in product testing, wants to breed and sell monkeys for
experimentation at the Guayama facility. But the company applied for an
animal husbandry permit -- meant for farmers intending to breed cows and
animals raised for food.
'Today's ruling is a victory for the people of
Guayama and for everyone
concerned about safeguarding the environment and
protecting primates from
inhumane experiments,' says PCRM primatologist Debra
Durham, Ph.D. 'It
sends a message to Bioculture that Puerto Rico will not
manipulation of its legal system.'
The Puerto Rican Senate's
report found that Bioculture 'has had an
extremely defiant and disrespectful
attitude to the law, at least in parts
of the process of obtaining the
'We conclude that the action and non-actions of the company
to the protection and integrity of the cultural, historic and
archeological resources of the land has been absolutely inadmissible and
reprehensible,' the Senate report said.
The proposed facility could pose
serious risks to public health and the
environment. Monkeys are likely to
escape from Bioculture's Guayama
facility. Such escapes could result in the
establishment of another
invasive species in Puerto Rico, adding to the
serious problems already
caused by patas monkeys and rhesus monkeys who also
invaded the island by
escaping from research facilities.
concerns about the Bioculture project have been expressed by both
opponents of the facility and an international coalition of
and animal protection organizations, including the
Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine, the British Union for the
Abolition of Vivisection, and
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Recent reports in the
Journal of the American Medical Association and the
British Medical Journal
have criticized the usefulness of primate
experiments, noting that they
consistently fail to predict the safety and
effectiveness of drugs in humans.
By voicing your concerns, thousands of citizens like you contributed to
this first victory. The judge's ruling is a significant victory, but it
not be the last word in this fight. Please visit PCRM.org and continue
Puerto Rican officials know that you support the international
halt the construction of Bioculture's monkey farm.