Planet Earth

Puerto Ricans Are Tired of Escaped, Belligerent Research Monkeys

DiscoblogBy Andrew MosemanNov 30, 2009 5:40 PM
patas220.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Fool me with monkeys once, shame on you. Fool me twice... well, Puerto Ricans won't get fooled again. Some people on the island commonwealth are up in arms over the proposal by a company called Bioculture Ltd. to make Puerto Rico a major supplier of primates to researchers in the United States. Beyond the ethical issues connected to animal testing, the AP reports, Puerto Ricans have "a bad history with research monkeys":

The U.S. territory has long struggled to control hundreds of patas monkeys, descendants of primates that escaped in recent decades from research projects and now thrive in the lush tropical environment.

No labs want the patas monkeys because they're no longer right for research, and many are diseased. There isn't much demand from zoos, either. So rangers from the island's Department of Natural Resources trap and kill them.

Bioculture counters that its proposed facility in the mountainous region of Guayama would bring 50 jobs and other economic benefits, like buying fruit from local farms to feed the African monkeys, to a place currently reeling from 16 percent unemployment. Bioculture executive Moses Mark Bushmitz tried to reassure people from the Guyama neighborhood of Carmen, which is near the proposed facility, that their homes would be no more run over with research primates than homes in Cambridge, Mass.:

"You have monkeys in MIT, you have monkeys in Harvard," Bushmitz said. "So why isn't it an issue if the monkey will escape in Harvard, but it is an issue if a monkey will escape in Carmen?"

To be fair, though, there isn't a history of monkeys that "run though backyards, stop traffic and destroy crops" in Harvard Yard. Related Content: Discoblog: Are "Microlungs" the End of Lab Rat Experiments?

Discoblog: Muriqui Monkeys, However Gentle, Will Kill to Mate

80beats: NASA's Plan to Irradiate Monkeys Raises Cruelty Concerns

Image: flickr /Mr. Theklan

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.