Plan to house 30,000 lab monkeys in massive US facility sparks outrage

Plans to build the largest monkey breeding facility in the US have sparked anger and concern among animal welfare groups and local residents in Georgia. The massive complex will eventually house up to 30,000 macaques – twice the human population of the local town – which will be sold to universities and pharmaceutical companies for drug testing and biomedical research.

Safer Human Medicine (SHM) aims to build the 200-acre complex in Bainbridge, a small city in Decatur County, Georgia. The plan moved closer to fruition in December 2023 when the Bainbridge City Council provided significant tax breaks to allow the project to proceed at the site.

The facility will house cynomolgus macaques, also known as crab-eating macaques.Macaca fascicularis), in numerous large enclosures that allow them some fresh air and sunlight while remaining confined within a secure enclosure.

The idea of ​​sharing their city with thousands of macaques has not gone down well with some residents. In addition to concerns about the smell and noise, local residents have also raised concerns about the possibility of environmental pollution and mass monkey escapes.

“I don’t think anyone would want 30,000 monkeys next door,” David Barber, who lives just 400 feet from the facility’s site, told local news media.

“At first when I heard about it, I was worried about myself, what my property value was going to do, what it was going to do to our health, and then suddenly it wasn’t just about me. It was basically all these people in this area,” added Johnny Reynolds, another neighbor of the facility.

“Stop the processing facility. That is our overall goal,” he said.

PETA also joined the debate, joining local protests against the facility. According to the animal rights group, Bainbridge residents filed a lawsuit against the city of Bainbridge and other local authorities on Feb. 15 for approving the controversial plan.

“In an effort to attract a few jobs – many of which are low-paying and at risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases – city and provincial officials have rolled out the red carpet on an unethical plan by some questionable figures that will create an ecological disaster could mean and possibly lead to the next pandemic,” Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, primatologist and PETA senior scientific advisor, said in a strongly worded statement.

“PETA urges Bainbridge officials to withdraw their support and halt this project before a shovel hits the ground.”

SMH has defended its plan to build the Bainbridge factory, claiming it would invest $270 million in local infrastructure and create up to 250 new jobs in the area. In an open letter to local residents, the company answers various questions that people may have about the facility.

They claim that animal testing is a reality of scientific research. Many researchers and scientific institutions still consider animal testing to be the most effective way to study drugs and hypotheses, as opposed to testing on computer models and lab-grown organoids (let alone on humans).

While it may not sit well with some people on ethical grounds, science owes many of its breakthroughs to animal testing.

“Numerous scientific benefits have come from animal research. Without animal research we would not have chemotherapy drugs for cancer, drugs for high blood pressure, the ability to perform organ transplants, insulin drugs for people with diabetes, artificial joint replacements, drugs such as penicillin and other antibiotics, pacemakers, vaccines for COVID, polio, measles, rubella and tetanus, and hundreds of other medical developments,” SHM wrote in the open letter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *