Plan for Largest Monkey Warehouse in the U.S. Targets Georgia Town, Prompting Pushback From PETA


For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2024

Contact:
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382

Decatur County, Ga. – A PETA scientist will join local residents at the Bainbridge City Council meeting on Tuesday, urging council members to reverse course and stop a plan to build the largest monkey warehouse in the U.S., capable of holding 30,000 monkeys—twice the human population of the town—as well as risking the spread of infectious diseases and the potential for ecological disaster.

City and county officials have already agreed to more than $58 million in handouts—including a 20-year tax abatement scheme and 200 acres of public land worth $2 million—in a bid to secure construction of the facility that, if built, would be the largest monkey-holding facility in the Western Hemisphere.

“In a bid to attract a few jobs—many of them low-paying and risking exposure to zoonotic diseases—city and county officials have rolled out the red carpet for an unethical plan by some questionable characters that could spell ecological disaster and potentially spark the next pandemic,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, who will attend the meeting. “PETA urges Bainbridge officials to withdraw their support and shut down this project before a shovel hits the dirt.”

An endangered long-tailed macaque monkey. Credit: PETA

Safer Human Medicine, the company seeking to build the colossal facility, was only recently established by former executives from other big players in the monkey-supply industry: Envigo, Covance, and Charles River Laboratories, which is currently under civil and criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for possible violations of the Endangered Species and Lacey acts.

The proposed facility targets land less than half a mile from the Flint River, which provides farmers with water for crop irrigation and ultimately flows into the Gulf of Mexico. It would dwarf the next largest similar facility in the U.S., which is owned by Envigo and located in Alice, Texas, and cages 6,000 to 11,000 monkeys, creating about 22,000 gallons of wastewater filled with feces, urine, and other bodily fluids from the animals every day.

At full capacity, the proposed facility in Bainbridge would produce more than 440,000 gallons of wastewater a day—enough feces, urine, saliva, and other fluids to nearly fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every day. This poses a major risk of environmental damage to nearby land.

PETA recently uncovered an outbreak of tuberculosis in imported monkeys at a Michigan laboratory after the animals had cleared quarantine. Imported monkeys have been arriving in the U.S. with a deadly bacteria that can be shed into the soil and water, government documents show. Mosquitoes and other insects prevalent in the area surrounding the proposed facility could feed on the monkeys, spreading pathogens to humans.

Another proposed monkey facility, which presents similar ecological consequences, is planned in Brazoria County, Texas. Local activists have joined with PETA to stop the project.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.





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