In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection and rescue organization came to the aid of 55 macaque monkeys that have been the victims of a bureaucratic struggle since April when AniClin Laboratories in Oxford, New Jersey went into bankruptcy. The monkeys were used by the toxicology lab in experiments, along with 118 beagles.
IDA coordinated a 1,700-mile rescue mission to deliver the monkeys to primate sanctuaries where they tasted freedom for the first time in their lives.
When IDA President, Scotlund Haisley received a desperate plea to help the macaque monkeys, he pledged the support of his organization. The lab the monkeys came from had been repeatedly cited by the USDA for Animal Welfare Act violations. They were used in experiments that ranged from brain lesions, invasive brain studies, Ebola virus, stroke, plague and drug-induced seizure.
“These young monkeys would have been subjected to decades behind bars in cramped stainless steel cages, forced to endure painful toxicology tests,” said Haisley. “Now they will have a life filled with fresh air, friends and freedom from harm.”
The rescue of the lab animals began after New York –based animal activist Camille Hankins from Win Animal Rights, received an anonymous tip from a former AniClin employee. Care2 blogger Megan Drake wrote about the ordeal in her story, “Dogs and Primates Freed from Lab this Independence Day Weekend!” She reported how the animals were trapped inside the lab after it closed and that former employees were scaling the fences to feed and take care of the beagles and monkeys.
IDA intervened to save the animals by sending their “pro bono” attorney Kathryn Flood, to negotiate their release. And with the hard work of Hankins, IDA and other activist groups all of the dogs and monkeys were released in early July. The beagles were placed in several animal rescue shelters and IDA stepped forward to transport the monkeys to primate sanctuaries.
In a project that cost more than $25,000 and covered more than 1,700 miles, IDA staff and volunteers delivered eight of the macaques to their new home at Mindy’s Memory Sanctuary in Newcastle, OK. Then the transport traveled to Texas where Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Primarily Primates, and Born Free USA welcomed the remaining monkeys.
By the end of last week all of the monkeys were safe in their new homes. They are free from the small stainless steel cages where they were confined for years, living in isolation from each other.
In his blog on the IDA website Haisley had this to say about the monkeys’ first taste of freedom. “I wish you had been there with me to witness the monkeys experiencing the outside world for the first time. Upon entering their new habitats they brushed their hands through the green grass, the wind blowing through their fur, and they stared up into the sun, taking in the immense blue sky for the first time. They had been held in cruel solitary confinement, deprived of crucial relationships with their own species. They are now beginning to bond with one another and form the intimate, complex relationships that come naturally to these social animals,” wrote Haisley.
photo credit: In Defense of Animals, used with permission