PETA to Feds: End Illegal Monkey Imports


After one federal agency declined to do its job, PETA is urging another, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), to step in and enforce the laws it’s charged with upholding by cracking down on airlines that import endangered monkeys for experimentation and the companies that support them.

In a letter today, PETA asked the USFWS to investigate two airlines for possible violations of the Lacey Act—the federal law designed to stop the illegal trafficking of wild animals—after the airlines’ recent shipments containing more than 1,000 monkeys from species recently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The monkeys were destined for torture and death in U.S. laboratories. Neither airline was registered with the U.S. government to transport monkeys, an apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

PETA made a similar request to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 23, after learning that Hainan Airlines had reportedly imported 720 monkeys earlier that month. We then learned that Maleth Aero, operated by AELF FlightService, had reportedly shipped 360 monkeys, also without a USDA registration.

Both shipments were destined for a company called Inotiv, whose beagle-breeding Envigo facility is shutting down after a PETA undercover investigation.

That should have been enough—but in what amounts to a shady endorsement of possibly illegal activity, the USDA quietly registered Maleth Aero after the fact and is apparently taking no action against Hainan Airlines. By doing so, the agency appears to be enabling the dangerous and illegal importation of endangered long-tailed macaques.

So PETA is now asking the USFWS to investigate both airlines, their parent companies, and any company that hired them, including the brokers that crafted the deals and the U.S.-supported monkey factory farms for possibly violating the AWA and the Lacey Act.

What’s the Lacey Act?

The Lacey Act protects wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for a wide array of violations. A violation of a federal law that regulates the use of wild animals, such as the AWA, is also a violation of the Lacey Act if the animal in question was imported, exported, transported, sold, or received. It would appear the two monkey shipments were clear violations.

PETA urges the USFWS to investigate and seize the aircraft and monkeys involved in the cases if the investigation finds the companies guilty.

monkey in shipping crate

Predatory Laboratories Are Depleting the World’s Monkeys

USFWS action is critical. Earlier this year, long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques were recognized as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The designation is due in large part to the international wildlife trade to U.S. laboratories, where sensitive macaques are mutilated, poisoned, deprived of food and water, forcibly immobilized in restraint devices, infected with painful and deadly diseases, psychologically tormented, and killed.

Many macaques are snatched from their natural habitat and then held captive on filthy monkey farms in Asia. They can harbor infectious diseases, which can potentially spread after they’re imported into the U.S. It’s estimated that 100,000 long-tailed macaques were imported into the country for use by the animal experimentation industry in the past three years alone.

What You Can Do

Please take a minute to join the thousands of PETA supporters who have urged the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shut down the monkey abduction pipeline before the animal experimentation industry depletes the world of monkeys entirely.


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