U.S. Government Puts Alleged Monkey Smuggler on Trial


3 min read

The fate of an entire species of monkey could be influenced by the outcome of a trial set to start in a U.S. district court in Florida as the federal case against Masphal Kry—a Cambodian citizen and deputy of Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries—gets underway on Monday, March 11.

Kry is the first individual to be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) following a five-year investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) into a monkey-smuggling ring that allegedly abducted long-tailed macaques from their forest homes and then falsely identified and sold them as captive-bred, a violation of both the Lacey Act and the federal Endangered Species Act. The monkeys were all destined to be used for experimentation in U.S. laboratories.

The primate experimentation industry is rife with corruption, secrecy, and lawbreaking, and it goes to great lengths to hide what it does to monkeys from the time they’re abducted from their homes until they endure grisly deaths in laboratories. PETA is committed to exposing the truth and ending this nightmare, and we’ll post updates on major developments below as they happen.

In the meantime, please take action today by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

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Trial Background

  • Other individuals indicted by the DOJ include another Cambodian government official and the owner and staff of a Cambodian monkey farm.
  • PETA believes that Inotiv, which owns two monkey facilities in Alice, Texas, and the Miami-based Worldwide Primates are unindicted coconspirators named in the DOJ’s indictment.
  • Other primate importers, including Charles River Laboratories and PreLabs, are referenced among the thousands of pages of evidence.
  • Kry’s attorneys tried to suppress evidence, including videos filmed by the U.S. government’s informant in which Kry apparently says, “Do more business … [You will] make more money … if you make another road … for your smuggling.” Allegedly wild-caught monkeys crammed into cages wedged into Kry’s truck are visible in the video.

Trial Updates

PETA Protests Outside Court on Day One of Accused Monkey Smuggler’s Trial

March 11, 2024

PETA led a protest outside a federal courthouse in Miami while jury selection was completed today in the case against Masphal Kry, the Cambodian government official accused of aiding an international monkey-smuggling ring.

Three demonstrators stand outside, two wearing monkey masks

Outside, protesters demanded that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) add vulnerable monkey populations that are being decimated by insatiable laboratory demand to the endangered species list and shut down the primate-importation pipeline. Inside, jurors were chosen from 45 candidates. Opening arguments are expected to begin tomorrow.

Kry’s attorneys—who refuse to pronounce the word “macaque” correctly—are trying to prevent the jury from seeing dozens of accurate photos taken at the monkey farm where Kry allegedly delivered wild-caught monkeys. They show monkeys crammed into fetid, broken, and rusty cages in which the food troughs are full of feces and maggots. Kry’s defense argues that these photos would prejudice the jurors. What they show is the unvarnished reality of an industry steeped in violence. And everyone should see them.

More updates will follow as developments unfold. In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.


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