Good News for Primates and Puerto RicansPosted by Dana Campbell, ALDF Attorney on January 25, 2010
Falling under the category of “news that may have escaped your attention,” it appears that while most of us were celebrating the holiday season, Puerto Rico’s animal advocates were celebrating a big victory. A plan by Bioculture, Ltd. to build a primate breeding facility in Guayama City, Puerto Rico to produce primates for export to U.S. research labs for experimentation purposes has been stopped. Guayama’s Superior Court Judge Juan Frau Escudero ruled at the very end of 2009 that Bioculture had obtained the wrong permits to build the facility and that there were irregularities in their permit process. ALDF originally raised the alarm on this proposed project last July.
Thanks to your letters to local officials there, who then supported animal advocates in bringing suit to halt construction of the facility, the project is at a standstill–for now. Presumably Bioculture could come back and try again after it fixes its permit applications and agrees to submit to a clean, non-misleading permit process, or it could appeal the court’s ruling.
However, the momentum is not in the company’s favor for two reasons:
- the strong local, and vocal, opposition to the facility, and
- a highly critical report issued by the Puerto Rican Senate’s Environmental Committee, which found that the primate supply company had manipulated the permit process by using misleading information to obtain its permits for building the facility.
But the report was worded much more strongly than that. As Carribbean Net News and others reported: “Bioculture demonstrated a ‘defiant and disrespectful attitude to the law’ and agencies responsible for granting approval for the project may have acted improperly … Bioculture’s disregard for the ‘protection and integrity of the cultural, historic and archeological resources of the land’ was ‘absolutely inadmissible and reprehensible.’ The final report concluded that it "is not sensible" for Puerto Rico to support the project.“
Not sensible indeed. How wonderful to start the year off with a bit of good news for primates! Here at ALDF we’ll keep an eye on the situation to ensure the victory is a permanent one.