After PETA Probe, Cali officials fined NIH-funded facility for unsanitary and unsafe conditions
For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2023
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Cali, Colombia – Last night, Colombian officials shut down the Caucaseco Scientific Research Center (Caucaseco) campus for 10 days because the facility didn’t meet sanitary and safety regulations.
The center is at the heart of an 18-month PETA investigation that has impelled Colombian authorities and elected leaders to take action. The latest move follows a recent PETA-prompted seizure of 100 monkeys from the Fundación Centro de Primates (FUCEP), a laboratory still funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the same campus.
“While NIH bankrolls useless and deadly animal experiments abroad, Colombian officials have moved swiftly to shut these torture centers down,” says Dr. Magnolia Martínez, PETA’s lead projects manager and congressional liaison. “PETA is renewing calls to NIH to end this reckless funding pipeline and urging the city of Cali to immediately rescue the mice and other animals still confined there.”
PETA is pledging U.S. $5,000 toward the care of these animals, once they are transported to the Cali animal shelter.
The group previously filed a complaint with NIH asking that it stop funding FUCEP and Caucaseco and requested that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases investigate the experimenters, husband-and-wife duo Sócrates Herrera Valencia and Myriam Arévalo Ramírez, for apparent misuse of funds.
PETA’s investigation into Caucaseco and FUCEP revealed that monkeys were deliberately infected with the malaria parasite and that their spleens were surgically removed. Other monkeys were simply left to die from infected wounds. The investigation also found that the monkeys were held in rusty cages amid their own waste in a makeshift pen made of backyard fencing and plastic sheets and fed dog kibble soaked in sugary water.
Herrera and Arévalo have published papers with leading institutions around the world, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Emory National Primate Research Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Florida Atlantic University, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Washington, the Université de Montpellier, the Université de Lausanne, and others.
NIH spent $279 million in 2022 to fund 742 research grants in Colombia and 63 other countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, and Vietnam. The agency has no oversight mechanisms for foreign organizations that receive American taxpayer money.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.