Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A moment of monkey flesh zen...

monkey flesh venderA man narrowly escaped arrest after illegally selling monkey flesh for 600 yuan per kilogram early on Tuesday morning in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan province.

The man beat a gong to advertise his wares, but fled before the public security bureau could apprehend him.

Nanguo Metropolitan Newspaper reports the vendor claimed his monkey flesh was fresh from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The meat sold quickly and one client purchased the brain for 300 yuan. By the time the man had to flee, only one leg was left.

The paper said some residents who wanted to buy the flesh were deterred by the high price of 600 yuan, or 76 US dollars, per kilogram. Others disapproved of the practice, saying it's cruel to kill a monkey and sell it as food.

An official from the Haikou Forestry Public Security Bureau said killing monkeys and selling their meat breaks the laws protecting wild animals. The illegal profits should be seized by the industry and commerce authorities, or a department for wildlife administration.

If apprehended, the vendor will also be fined six to ten times the total sum of money he made from his sales.


Story here.

Animal rights groups blast support for monkey tests

A report backing the use of monkeys in academic research was denounced by animal welfare groups yesterday.

The Weatherall committee, a group of experts set up by four leading scientific bodies, said there was a "strong scientific case" for allowing certain experiments on non-human primates.

But animal welfare organisations condemned the 18-month inquiry as a "whitewash" and a wasted opportunity.

They were especially critical of the absence of animal welfare representatives on the committee and its failure to consider the use of monkeys in drug tests.

Each year about 3,300 monkeys are involved in scientific or medical research in the UK - about 0.1 per cent of all animals used.

Three-quarters of these animals are used for testing the safety of new medicines. Only about 450 are involved in academic research.

It was this aspect of primate research that was examined by the expert group led by Oxford geneticist and professor of medicine Sir David Weatherall.

The inquiry group, set up by the Royal Society, the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the Academy of Medical Sciences began in March 2005.

Over the course of ten meetings, it heard evidence from 35 witnesses, including representatives from academic organisations, animal welfare groups, the government and industry, as well as patients.

A total of 62 written submissions were also received.

The experts made 16 recommendations, including the setting up of a small number of specialist research centres where monkeys could be kept in the best possible conditions.

They envisaged about four centres, each housing around 100 monkeys.

The report also called for more information about the use of non-human primates in research to be made public.

It accepted that new techniques that did not involve animals, particularly in the areas of brain imaging and computer modelling, were reducing the need for monkeys in research.

For this reason, the report said, research proposals involving monkeys should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Michelle Thew, the chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said: "This is yet another whitewash. They say the end justifies the means when it comes to research on non-human primates, but they haven't proved that.

"We don't need new primate research centres," she said. "What we need are cutting-edge new centres looking at modern, 21st-century techniques that don't cause animals to suffer."

Dr Vicky Robinson, the chief executive of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), which investigates ways to avoid animal experiments, said the report should have gone further.

Dr Robinson said: "It is disappointing that, despite a ringing endorsement for the work being done to reduce primate use, the report did not go far enough in trying to map out the priorities for development and adoption of alternatives.

"Nor did it identify what gaps in our understanding need to be broached to move forward in areas that seem less promising. The committee has therefore missed an opportunity to give some much-needed direction in this critical aspect of the debate on using primates for research, which is central to helping society resolve the serious ethical dilemmas involved."


Story here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Report defends monkey experiments in Britain

monkey testingThe UK's leading research organisations are expected to back the continued use of primates in scientific experiments.

The Weatherall committee is expected to back the use of non-human primates for studies that can reduce human suffering and loss of life.

Fewer than 1% of animal tests are conducted on primates and the committee has spent 18 months examining if these are sound and relevant to humans.

Anti-vivisectionists are firmly opposed to research involving primates.

BBC Science Correspondent Pallab Ghosh said research on primates caused particular controversy because they were more sentient than other laboratory animals and so suffered more.

The committee, led by Oxford geneticist Professor Sir David Weatherall, heard evidence from 35 people, including representatives from academic organisations, animal welfare groups, the government and patients.

It also received 62 written submissions.

The inquiry was set up the Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Just over 4,500 experiments were carried out on primates last year, mostly to test new drugs.

The scientific community has long argued that there is no other safe way to test many new drugs or carry out certain types of brain research.

However, opponents insist primates are poor models for human disease, and say such research has failed to produce treatments for leading killers including heart disease and malaria.

The use of great apes, including chimpanzees and gorillas, is prohibited in the UK.


Story here.

South Africa Delays "Taipeng Four" Returning to Cameroon

South Africa's government has delayed the return to Cameroon this week of four endangered gorillas smuggled to Malaysia four years ago, the group organising the transfer said on Monday.

Cameroon has lobbied hard for the return of the young Western Lowland gorillas, dubbed the "Taipeng Four", who were shipped illegally to Malaysia's Taipeng Zoo in 2002 then sent two years later to South Africa, violating the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The four, who are at Pretoria zoo, had been due to be flown early on Wednesday to Cameroon, where their intended new home was the Limbe Wildlife Centre.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which had agreed to fund the return of the animals to Cameroon, said South Africa's government had delayed the transfer.

"This eleventh hour decision to delay the return of the gorillas was entirely unexpected," IFAW's spokeswoman Christina Pretorius said in a statement sent to Reuters.

She added: "We understand that under the terms of CITES, South Africa, as the recipient state of the four gorillas that were confiscated in Malaysia, does not have the authority to re-export the animals".

She said South Africa was arguing that the final decision on where to place the animals rested with the authorities of Malaysia, the state where the apes were confiscated after it was found that their import documents were falsified.

Ofir Drori, director of the Last Great Ape Organisation, one of the groups lobbying for the gorillas' return to Cameroon, said diplomatic negotiations were taking place to ensure the transfer could eventually go ahead as soon as possible.

"We are patient and very certain that the gorillas will return to Cameroon," Drori said.

The fate of the great grey-brown apes, which weigh up to 275 kg (600 lb) and live deep within central Africa's tropical rainforests, has infuriated wildlife protection groups.

DNA sampling commissioned by Pretoria zoo established that Cameroon was the most likely place of origin of the gorillas.


Story here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thai police arrest monkey smugglers after finding 36 dead macaques in a truck

Police found three dozen macaque monkeys dead in the back of a truck, and arrested two men who admitted to drugging the animals and stuffing them into sacks in order to smuggle them, authorities said Sunday.

Police stopped the truck at a checkpoint in Thailand's northeastern Amnat Charoen province. An inspection revealed the truck was carrying 65 monkeys, known as crab-eating macaques, of which 36 were dead, police Capt. Pitak Chompupeun.

The truck's driver and passenger were both arrested and face up to four years in prison on smuggling and related charges.

The two men told investigators they had stolen the monkeys from a national park and admitted to feeding them food laced with tranquilizers, which may have been a factor in the deaths, Pitak said.

Their plan was to sell the monkeys to black market traders who pay about 2,000 baht (US$55, €45) per animal, the men told police.

The surviving monkeys were returned to their national park.


Story here.

2 Hollywood Chimps Head to Sanctuary

chimpsTwo chimpanzees who appeared in numerous movies and TV shows were removed from a ranch and will retire to a sanctuary to settle a lawsuit alleging animal cruelty, an animal rights group said.

The chimps were trucked out of San Bernardino on Saturday and were expected to arrive at their new home in New Mexico on Sunday, said Lisa Franzetta, a spokeswoman for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. A third chimp will be shipped to Florida next week, she said.

"We're thrilled that they're not going to be forced to perform unwillingly anymore," Franzetta said. "This is such a happy day to see these chimpanzees being retired."

The chimps have appeared in productions such as TV's "That 70s Show" and "The Craig Kilborn Show," and the upcoming movie "Evan Almighty." They were raised from a young age by trainer Sid Yost, who runs Amazing Animal Productions Inc.

Animal Legal Defense Fund and other groups sued Yost last year in federal court, accusing him of beating the chimps with sticks, using an electric shock stick on them and punching, taunting and intimidating the animals.

Yost did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement.

The defense fund is part of a coalition of primatologists, attorneys, scientists and actors who have started a campaign called "No Reel Apes" to call for an end to the use of primates in entertainment. They contend apes are poorly treated and infants are often separated from their mothers.

Sarah Baeckler, a primatologist with a group called the Chimpanzee Collaboratory who worked undercover at Yost's San Bernardino ranch, claims she saw the chimps being beaten to make them perform.

Yost denied abusing the animals and said he was unhappy the chimps were leaving.

"I love 'em and I'll miss 'em," he said last week in a telephone interview.

Yost said he was legally forbidden to reveal details of the settlement. But Tobin Dunlea, who has been an animal trainer at the ranch for seven years, said Yost agreed to give up the chimps and can no longer own or work with primates.


Story here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

3 Year Diet Slims Down Monkeys

obese monkeysMore than 200 chubby Tibetan macaque monkeys have slimmed down after a three-year diet on Emei Mountain in Sichuan Province.

The monkeys, under second-level state protection, once lived a decadent life in the 80-hectare ecological reserve in the Emei Mountain area. They greedily devoured junk food fed to them by tourists.

Amid fears that the monkeys were losing their wild instincts and becoming obese, zoologists launched the diet plan.

Hu Yongzhong, director of the monkey protection reserve, said, "The macaques were used to asking for food from tourists. Half of their food came from eating wild plants, the other half came from tourists."

Naughty tourists were feeding macaques fatty snacks. Many of the monkeys had high blood pressure and a high lipid content due to the unhealthy diet, according to Hu.

"A normal adult macaque weighs about 25 kilograms, but many ballooned to 45kg," Hu said.

With the monkeys growing more sluggish and lazy, and in danger of losing their instincts, staff on Emei Mountain took action.

The most important part of the plan was to control the diet of the Tibetan macaques,'' said Jian Hongbo, deputy director of Qingyinge administrative office with the Emei Mountain Administrative Committee.

"We told tourists that they could only feed them food such as raw pignuts, corn and raisins," said Jian.

"At the beginning, many tourists did not understand. One elderly American woman complained that she had brought the food all the way from her home."

The zoo staff also imposed a limit on the amount of time the monkeys spent with tourists so they would be forced to provide for themselves in the forest.


Story here.

Ebola virus threatens to wipe out gorilla population

gorilla and babyThe Ebola virus has killed more than 5,000 western lowland gorillas in the past four years according to scientists who warn that the world's largest ape is suffering a dramatic population decline that could soon lead to its total extinction.

The virus is one of the deadliest infectious agents known to man. It also affects other primate species and its rapid spread among chimps and gorillas in parts of central Africa has alarmed conservationists. A study published in the journal Science is one of the first to estimate accurately the number of western lowland gorillas affected by the epidemic, which appears to spread from ape to ape.

Before the latest study, scientists were not sure whether Ebola was spreading into apes from other animals in the forest which acted as natural "reservoirs" of the virus. The latest findings suggest there is direct transmission from one ape to another.

The type of Ebola virus killing the gorillas is known as the Zaire strain which has repeatedly infected humans in Gabon and Congo, said Magdalene Bermejo of the Ecoystemes Forestiers d'Afrique Centrale, based in Libreville, Gabon.

"During each human outbreak, carcasses of western gorillas and chimpanzees have been found in neighbouring forests," said Dr Bermejo, a primatologist whose study of the gorillas' deaths with colleagues from Germany and Spain is published in Science.

Dr Bermejo was part of a project that was studying 10 social groups of gorillas, totalling some 143 individuals, living in the vicinity of the Lossi Sanctuary in Congo.

In late 2001, human outbreaks of Ebola flared up along the border between Gabon and Congo. In June 2002 the first dead gorilla was found 15km from the Lossi sanctuary.

By October, gorillas were dying within the sanctuary and, over the next four months, the scientists counted 32 carcasses. A dozen were tested for Ebola and nine tested positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola.

Between October 2002 and January 2003, 130 of the 143 gorillas that were being studied as part of the gorilla project had died - a mortality rate of more than 90 per cent. In the following months further carcasses were reported in parts of the forest further south of the sanctuary.

The virus appeared to be spreading from one gorilla group to another in a sequential manner consistent with ape-to-ape transmission, the scientists said.

A survey of nesting sites used by gorillas living in a 2,700 sq km area surrounding the Lossi sanctuary found that the number of occupied nests had fallen by 96 per cent.

The scientists estimated that would suggest about 5,000 gorillas living in the region had been killed by the Ebola virus since the epidemic began in 2002.


Story here.

Monkey on the loose in Goldsboro

goldsboro monkey looseFrankie Piscopo's pet monkey has been on quite an adventure for the last week.

After running away from her home in Nahunta to mourn the death of her mate, the monkey showed up all over the countryside -- even as far away as Goldsboro.

As Piscopo searched for his friend, the primate was busy putting on a show for the clients who live at the Magnolia House for people who have disabilities and go to school at the Vocational Rehab Center. They named her Maggie.

After they were done feeding her, the 38 clients left the dorm for school.

She strolled through the back yard in the silence.

Every so often, staff members would gravitate to the dining room where they first spotted her. Each time she showed up, they would run for the back door to snap photos out the window. They had to take pictures, they said. Nobody believed them when they first started talking about the monkey.

Residential Manager Charlotte Wooten said the staff members spotted Maggie Monday.

"We've been excited. I was excited all day yesterday, especially after I got some really good pictures," she said. "We've all been walking around three days with cameras in our pockets."

Ms. Wooten said she called Animal Control, and when the officer showed up Wednesday, so did Piscopo. They set a trap and placed some fruit inside.

Maggie entered a short way and reached for the fruit. But this monkey wasn't going to be fooled. Before the door could swing shut, she ran away.

The trap has been readjusted, but as of this morning, she had still not been caught.

Ms. Wooten said she went outside to take some pictures of Maggie Wednesday, but when the monkey turned and looked at her, they both ran.

But Piscopo said the monkey is harmless. When he got her -- and her male counterpart -- five years ago from a man in Snow Hill he was told they were "snomacats."

He learned about how far his monkey had traveled Wednesday when somebody called and told him she had been spotted in the vicinity of Magnolia Place. When the staff members asked him what her proper diet was, he told them she would eat anything they eat.

Piscopo said he had not named the monkeys. He said the male that died recently was more tame than the female.

"She was a little shy."


Story here.

"Little Foot" ruled out of man's ancestral line

little foot primate remainsAncient remains, once thought to be a key link in the evolution of mankind, have now been shown to be 400,000 years too young to be a part of man�s family tree.

The remains of the apeman, dubbed Little Foot, were discovered in a cave complex at Sterkfontein by a local South African team in 1997. Its bones preserved in sediment layers, it is the most complete hominid fossil skeleton ever found.

Little Foot is of the genus Australopithecus, thought by some to be part of the ancestral line which led directly to man. But research by Dr Jo Walker and Dr Bob Cliff of the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment, with Dr Alf Latham of Liverpool University's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, shows the remains are more than a million years younger than earlier estimates.

The team used uranium lead chronology to date the remains. Working on extracts of stalagmite deposits from immediately above and below the body, they dated the skeleton at around 2.2 million years old.

Their findings, published in the American journal Science, are controversial. Earlier estimates had put the age of Little Foot at three to four million years old placing it potentially on a direct line to humans.

The first recognisable stone tools appeared in Africa around 2.6 million years ago, but they were not made by Australopiths. Rather it is thought the first tool maker was Homo habilis, whose evolution is believed to have led directly to man. Rather than being older than Homo habilis � and a possible direct ancestor � Little Foot is more likely a distant cousin.

His remains are cemented in hard mineral deposits in the Sterkfontein cave complex which has yielded a number of other ancient finds. It is thought he either fell down a shaft or somehow got trapped in the cave and died there to be covered by the sediment layers from which he is now being slowly extracted. These sediments are themselves sandwiched between stalagmite layers which provided the materials for the dating process.

Australopithecus walked on two legs, but stood just 130cm tall and had a brain comparable in size with a modern chimpanzee. As Dr Walker explained: �In many of these finds, the smallest bones have disintegrated, but here the feet and hands are well preserved - and these could enable researchers to show how well adapted this early primate was to walking on two feet.�

But the sediment encasing Little Foot is harder than the bone � making extracting him a painstaking process for the South African team.

And Drs Latham and Cliff have now turned their own attention to further Australopith findings at Makapansgat, also in South Africa, where other specimens of Australopithecus have been found.


Story here.

Loose Monkey Terrorizes Kanpur

A Monkey has become the biggest nuisance for residents of three localities in Kanpur. This monkey was first seen a month ago in the Roadways Employees Colony adjacent to the Zoological Garden.

The monkey bit many children and passers-by there. The local residents made several attempts to catch it but failed.

Later, they approached Zoo director R Hemant Kumara but the official was unable to help as Forest rules did not all zoo staff to catch animals.

He, however, on humanitarian grounds asked the zoo vet for help. The vet tried to use a tranquilizer gun but he has been unable to locate the monkey.

The monkey even managed to escape from a trap set by local residents.

Licensed monkey catcher in the state, Sardar Harbans Singh, too, has failed.

Meanwhile, this monkey managed to ‘raid’ Deendayal Nagar Colony and bit several people there.

On the other hand neither has the district administration managed to do much nor has the Health Department bothered to obtain injections for people who have been bitten by the monkey.

Killing of monkeys is prohibited so, till a solution is found, local residents are at the mercy of this dangerous monkey.


Story here.

Court Reprimands New Delhi Over Monkeys

monkey menaceA top court reprimanded authorities in the Indian capital for failing to stop hundreds of monkeys from terrifying residents, news reports said Thursday.

As forest cover around New Delhi has shrunk, the city has struggled with a growing simian population. Government buildings, temples and many residential neighborhoods are overrun by hundreds of Rhesus macaques. The animals will occasionally snatch food from unsuspecting passers-by and even bite them.

"If you can't control the monkeys, what can you do?" the Delhi High Court acerbically asked representatives of the various municipal authorities in a ruling responding to a petition filed by the harassed residents of a posh residential neighborhood. The court asked authorities to explain "what measures were being formulated to find a permanent solution to the monkey menace in the capital."

City authorities weren't immediately available for comment.

Over the years city authorities have tried various methods to deal with the problem. They've used monkey catchers who use langurs _ a larger and fiercer kind of simian _ to scare or catch the monkeys.

In 2002 the court asked that wildlife and municipal officials take measures to make sure that the problem was eradicated or at least significantly minimized, but the problem has persisted.

Earlier this year the country's Supreme Court ordered wildlife authorities to transport some 300 macaques from New Delhi to the dense jungles of Madhya Pradesh state. The government of that state was to receive $54,000 from the federal government to cover the cost of reintroducing the monkeys to the wild,

Other efforts by animal welfare agencies have been defeated, in part, by Hindus who believe that monkeys are manifestations of the monkey god Hanuman. The animals are often fed bananas and peanuts, which encourages them to frequent public places.


Story here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In preparation for the upcoming Monkey Day...

A medley of pictures from news articles past to prepare you for the upcoming Monkey Day, using the now classic "I'M IN UR BASE" theme. Feel free to distribute and add your own in the comments:




i'm in ur bath



i'm in ur portman



i'm in ur research


i'm in ur fish



i'm in ur head


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Man in custody over beating monkeys

A man has been detained after he allegedly beat four monkeys with a wooden rod in the city of Foshan, Guangdong Province, over the weekend.

The man put on a monkey show in a busy street in Foshan's Chancheng District on Sunday morning, attracting many onlookers.

But a local woman told police she had seen the man using a wooden rod to beat the four monkeys for more than 40 minutes because they refused to follow his orders.

Police were on the scene in 30 minutes and detained the man.


Story here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Giant Gorilla Goes Missing In Carrollton

sale gorilla stolenThe hunt is on for a giant gorilla in Carrollton.

The 35-foot inflatable gorilla was last seen at a NTB tire store off Beltline and Interstate 35.

"I couldn't believe that somebody stole that," mechanic Mike Coates said.

Someone deflated the giant attraction and took off in the middle of the night, police said.

NBC 5 decided to hit the streets of Carrollton to see if people have seen the gorilla.

"Are you kidding? How do you steal a gorilla?" one resident said.

"That's scary: A gorilla on the loose this time of year with all the traffic," another said.

Even with similar inflatable gorillas around town, Coates said it would be hard to miss.

Until it's returned, NTB will have to work without their giant friend.

"If you're not using it, I'd like it back. We'd appreciate it," Coates said.

The gorilla has gray skin and is wearing blue boxers and a yellow shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Carrollton police.


Story here.

Mysterious Epidemic may be Killing Guinean Chimps

A mysterious epidemic may be responsible for the disappearance of over half the chimpanzees at a colony in southeast Guinea, one of Africa's most important research sites for the primates, officials said Saturday.

Pepe Soropogui, head of the chimpanzee investigation at the Bossou Environmental Research Institute (IREB), said no more than 12 West African chimpanzees remain from a population of around 30 in 2002.

Primate experts are baffled by the dwindling population at Bossou, close to Mount Nimba in the border region with Ivory Coast and Liberia.

"There are theories that some chimpanzees have contracted a sort of bronchitis or pneumonia probably transmitted by man, but we are not sure because chimpanzees have funeral rites and take away the bodies after death," said Marie Claude Gauthier of the Jane Goodall Institute for wildlife research and conservation.

Chimpanzees share around 98 percent of man's genetic makeup and are sensitive to human diseases, she said.

Other theories include the migration of the chimps through the thick jungles towards Liberia or the Ivory Coast. "Nothing has been ruled out. It is a mystery," Gauthier said.

Chimpanzees have already disappeared from four countries in West Africa, leaving Guinea and Ivory Coast with the most important populations. According to the latest census, there are more than 8,000 chimpanzees in Guinea.

The population at Bossou is one of the oldest permanent colonies identified by researchers in the wild. Its chimps are known for using stone hammers to crack open palm oil nuts -- among the most sophisticated use of tools seen in nature.

The encroachment of nearby villages has threatened their habitat and food supplies as well as introducing disease.

"This situation is worrying and we are trying to find the cause of the deaths and disappearances. We still don't have the results of the tests," said Christine Sagno, national head of the water and forestry department.

"In the face of this threat, we have transported to the park in upper Niger, at Faranah, a sanctuary where we are going to welcome 45 chimpanzees in captivity," said Sagno.


Story here.

Uganda Family Shunned for Monkey Eating

Residents of Adok village, Dokolo district have decided to isolate a family of 10 over accusations that they eat monkeys.

John Ojuka and his family have for long been hunting monkeys in the area, saying they sell the meat to Sudanese in Lira town. Ojuka would also give residents sh2,000, for each monkey killed.

However, some curious residents kept monitoring the said business and discovered that Ojuka would not transport the meat to Lira but would consume it.

The LC1 chairman called a meeting and residents agreed never to go to Ojok's home.


Story here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Five monkeys had TB at Covance lab

Covance confirmed Thursday that five monkeys at its research laboratories in Madison were diagnosed with tuberculosis in June.

Thirty-two monkeys housed in the same room were euthanized to keep the illness from spreading, and additional monkeys that may have had "fleeting contact" with the infected animals were quarantined, Covance said.

It's the first case of tuberculosis among the company's Madison lab animals in 12 years, the company said in a written statement.

No Covance employee tested positive for the illness. "The public was never at risk at any time," the statement said.

"Monkeys are more likely to get tuberculosis from humans than the other way around," said Susan LaBelle, Covance vice president of global marketing, in Madison.

Covance, one of the world's largest drug testing companies, is one of Madison's largest employers, with about 1,300 employees. Its East Side campus, on Kinsman Boulevard near the Dane County Regional Airport, has undergone several big expansions in recent years.

Tuberculosis in monkeys housed in research labs was once fairly common but is now rare, said Dr. Taylor Bennett, Chicago, a veterinarian and associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

"Every once in a while, an institution will get a shipment of monkeys that has picked up tuberculosis somewhere," said Bennett, who is also a paid consultant for Covance.

Covance sent a letter to the state veterinarian about the problem on June 22, said spokeswoman Donna Gilson of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The company commented publicly on the monkey illness after a Chandler, Ariz., citizens group made the incident public. Citizens Against Covance member Michael Boerman said he obtained the documents from DATCP through a public records request.

"I think what bothers me the most is, No. 1, the fact that Covance didn't have the safeguards in place to prevent this kind of thing," said Boerman.

Citizens Against Covance is fighting the Princeton, N.J. company's effort to build laboratories in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. Animal-rights activists also have staged protests against the plans.

Boerman said Covance did not say when or from where the monkeys were imported, according to the papers released to him. He also claimed Covance sold monkeys to other research organizations without telling them about the tuberculosis.

LaBelle said Covance maintains "precise" quarantine records that show how and when its research animals enter the country, and said monkeys from the company's Madison labs are not sold to other research organizations.

She had no immediate information about how many monkeys are housed in Covance's Madison labs or how many employees have contact with the animals. But she said the company has "rigorous standards and procedures designed around worker safety and animal health" that reflect standard practice in the industry and conform to Centers for Disease Control guidelines.


Story here.