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Primate Protest

Thursday, March 5, 2009 - 7:50pm

A 100 page report released by the Humane Society details what they call “a routine and unlawful mistreatment of hundreds of primates” right here in Louisiana. Our Kianga Kelley has more on the undercover operation that led to the report.

The footage you are about to see is only nine months worth of torture, the Humane Society says these primates have experience the majority of their lives. The group hopes revealing this disturbing secret will save the animals’ lives.

For years, dozens of research facilities have relied on primates for pharmaceutical testing and infectious disease experiments because of their similarities to humans. But an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States uncovered a hidden secret at the University of Louisiana Lafayette Research Center in New Iberia.

The Humane Society says a nine-month undercover investigation uncovered more than 300 chimps and 6,000 monkeys kept in small cages. Some like this chimp named Karen have encountered what HSUS considers unlawful mistreatment for well over a decade.

On Wednesday morning, the agency wrote a letter to Governor Bobby Jindal requesting that 26 of the older chimps be released to a chimp haven in Shreveport. Andrew Rowan says, “We’ll be pressing this piece of legislation and hoping to get it passed, it will essentially end the use of chimpanzees in invasive laboratory research.”

A 108-page complaint was also filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, citing 338 possible violations that fall under the Federal Animal Welfare Act. Dr. Andrew Rowan of HSUS says running a facility like this also costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year. “Chimps are difficult creatures to work with. It’s very expensive to work with them and the research results are just frankly just not worth the cost.”

So far, no charges have been filed against the facility or the university. The investigation is now in the hands of federal investigators. In the meantime, the Humane Society is pushing for the great ape act to prevent further primate research of this nature.