Monkey Breeders Banned


Senate Votes to Bar Monkey Breeders

In some of the harshest language ever expressed by a legislative body, the Commonwealth Senate repudiated the experimentation with several types monkeys on the island Monday.

Led by New Progressive Party Sen. Melinda Romero, the Senate approved a resolution that not only expressed its concern regarding the use of ITAL macaca fasciculavis ITAL primates for biological experiments, but denounced the company that attempted to introduce the practice to Puerto Rico.

“I want to make sure that the federal authorities understand the problem here regarding the use of these animals for testing," Romero said. "I’m completely opposed to the issue on the grounds that other things could be done before a life is sacrificed.”

Last year, Bioculture of Puerto Rico tried to develop a medical facility in which they would use ITAL macaca ITAL monkeys for research. The idea was heavily criticized by local animal rights groups. Their concerns prompted the city of Guayama to cancel the company’s operating permits. Two resolutions were signed Wednesday by Mayor Glorimari Jaime and the city assembly banning the company from entering Guayama. However, the concerns prompting the Senate resolution were to keep them from trying to set up shop in other island towns or cities.

Senate Resolution 1514 will send a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services requesting that they also cancel the operating permits granted to Bioculture on the grounds that the company lied to local officials when it requested them.

“We never knew what the real number of monkeys was. They were dishonest to us all the time and that’s something that we need to report,” added Romero.

Not all senators were in favor of the measure that generated an unusually intense debate on the Senate floor. The only verbal opposition to the measure came from NPP lawmaker Carmelo Ríos who cited the job-creating nature of the companies such as Bioculture for his opposition.

“It is important to realize that we in Puerto Rico need to develop a medical research industry and that testing on animals is an important part of that effort," Rios said. "We need more industries, not less. If we send this letter, what other research company will come here?”

Popular Democratic Party Sen. Jorge Suárez rebuked Ríos calling him "insensitive" to the people who don’t want a company such as Bioculture on the island.

“If the only argument presented to oppose this measure is that of jobs, that is sad," Suárez said. "We don’t need a monkey farm to generate work. That company and many like them are performing work which goes against our beliefs and that’s why I support the resolution.”


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© Keith Mann