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PETA sues Massachusetts


PETA Argues That Massachusetts Is Unlawfully Concealing Which Companies Imported Monkeys Possibly to Be Poisoned, Infected, and Killed

 Boston — PETA filed a lawsuit today in the Suffolk County Superior Court to compel the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) to release information on the companies, universities, and individuals involved in the importation of 141 monkeys into the state in 2013, many of whom were likely headed to laboratories for invasive and painful experiments.

PETA sought this information in February through a Freedom of Information Act request. The DAR withheld the information on documents it released to PETA, and PETA’s lawsuit argues that it failed to provide an adequate justification for doing so. PETA contends that access to information about the origin and destination of these animals is critical because primates in laboratories are sometimes imported to the U.S. unlawfully, can carry infectious diseases such as herpes or Ebola, or are sometimes supplied by dealers who have violated animal welfare laws. 

“Thousands of monkeys are cut into, sickened, and killed in Massachusetts laboratories each year, and the public has a right to know where these animals came from, where they went, and how they got there,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “PETA wants the state of Massachusetts to stop insulating universities, drug companies, animal dealers, and others from much-deserved public scrutiny about the use of monkeys in deadly experiments.”

Each year, thousands of monkeys are taken from the wild or bred on squalid breeding farms in Asia and Africa, crammed into tiny wooden crates, transported on long-haul flights to the U.S., and trucked across the country to laboratories in Massachusetts and elsewhere. In recent studies, monkeys confined to Massachusetts facilities had holes drilled into their skulls, were addicted to cocaine, and were restrained and forced to pull burning-hot metal levers heated to 140 degrees.

According to the most recent federal data available, thousands of primates were confined to Massachusetts laboratories in 2011, including at Boston University, Charles River Laboratories, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During recent inspections, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Massachusetts laboratories for dozens of violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

A copy of PETA’s complaint is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.