Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prison to Paradise: Extraordinary 2,000 Mile Journey of Hope for 55 Rescued Monkeys

"These young monkeys would have been subjected to decades behind bars in cramped stainless steel cages, forced to endure painful toxicology tests," said IDA president Scotlund Haisley. "Now they will have a life filled with fresh air, friends and freedom from harm."

The lab the monkeys came from had been repeatedly cited by the USDA for Animal Welfare Act violations and had a license to sell animals. If not for this rescue, these monkeys could very well have ended up in other labs that routinely perform extremely invasive or terminal experiments on long-tailed macaques. Published articles from 2010 describe experimentation ranging from brain lesions, invasive brain studies of auditory, motor and visual cortex, Ebola virus, stroke, plague and drug-induced seizures. These intelligent, social primates suffer when imprisoned for decades in stark lab environments. Monkeys often display clinical signs of depression and abnormal behavior including hair pulling, stereotypic circling and pacing, and even self mutilation.

The rescue was initiated by New York-based activist Camille Hankins, following an anonymous tip from a former animal caregiver at the recently closed lab. After negotiations with the company hired to liquidate the "assets" of the lab, a proposal to release the animals was accepted, with the crucial assistance of IDA pro bono attorney Kathryn Flood of the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney.

"We are proud to have played this significant role in helping to rescue these monkeys from the horrors of the lab," concluded Haisley. "These are the lucky ones. We are inspired to renew our commitment to end the institutionalized abuse that is animal experimentation."

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