Animal rights group opposes SW Florida primate facility

Animal rights group opposes SW Florida primate facility

By Mike Mason. CREATED Jul 24, 2012 - UPDATED: Jul 25, 2012

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. - An animal rights group fighting to keep a primate research facility from coming to Southwest Florida. They say the monkeys are tortured during testing and its inhumane. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason went to Hendry County where proponents want to build the facility.

Right now there are two research facilities that house thousands of monkeys in Hendry County.  This animal rights group says that's already more than enough. According to the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, this video shows macaque monkeys being brutally captured in Africa so research facilities in Florida can use them for painful experiments.

Don Anthony: "They do a lot of toxic testing on these animals where they use lethal doses to see how much of a particular chemical will make an animal convulse and die a horrific death."

Don Anthony is the foundation's communications director. He attended today's Hendry County commission meeting, pleading with commissioners to reconsider approving another primate research facility in Hendry.

Don Anthony: '"We want people who live here to be able to say hey that's enough already we don't want this kind of thing we don't want to be the animal abuse capital of Florida."

There are already two primate facilities in Hendry, one company, called Primate Products, houses more than a thousand monkeys and another nearby facility has more than two thousand. Anthony says a Chicago-based research firm called Prelabs now plans to build another facility in a rural section of Hendry County near the Lee County line. He wants commissioners to hold a meeting for public input before allowing the company to break ground in Hendry.

Don Anthony: "The people who live here should have a chance to speak on this issue rather than just having the commissioners pencil whip it through."

Commissioner Darrell Harris says he's not necessarily opposed to the primate facility but will consider all options.

Darrell Harris: "I think if we have one it's going to be in the state of Florida somewhere but we're not making the decision tonight and we will consider everything that gentleman presented tonight."

Commissioners say they will likely vote to hold a public meeting before approving this new primate facility.  We'll let you know what happens.