Construction Continues for Puerto Rico Primate Facility

Posted by Dana Campbell, ALDF Attorney on February 8, 2010

Talk about a short-lived victory. Faster than you can say “stop building,” Puerto Rico’s Appeals Court decided in late-January to let construction continue on a primate breeding facility in Guayama while it considers an appeal filed two days earlier by the builder Bioculture Ltd. The appeal challenges that great lower court ruling to stop the construction based on permit and other procedural irregularities allegedly committed by Bioculture, which we heralded in this space two weeks ago.

According to an attorney I contacted in Puerto Rico who is familiar with the case, the appeal itself is still pending, and response briefs by those opposed to the facility are due to the court on February 16th. However, she described the way the Appeals Court handled the process for the recent motion concerning whether the primate lab’s construction should continue or be suspended during the appeal as “absolutely irregular,” noting that opponents were given only 24 hours to oppose Bioculture’s motion to continue building, and that the Court ruled on it the same day that the opponents’ response was filed, presumably without giving it much consideration.

The three-person panel of Appeals Court judges did not explain their decision, and they basically said that building may proceed until they order otherwise. We don’t know when that will be. Here’s a local report on these developments.