SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Puerto Rico senate on Monday approved a resolution to "[e]xpress the most forceful objection" to the plans of Bioculture Puerto Rico, Inc., to capture more than 4,000 monkeys from Mauritius, confine them to cages at the company's planned Guayama facility, and sell their offspring to US and foreign laboratories for use in painful and deadly experiments.
In this historic move, the Senate will now officially "request that the United States Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Services deny any and all permit request by Bioculture Mauritus, any of its subsidiaries or Bioculture Puerto Rico, Inc., with the purpose of importing Macaca fascicularis into Puerto Rico."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and resolution sponsor Sen. Melinda Romero Donnelly have previously asked both agencies to deny permits and licences to Bioculture.
"With this resolution, the Puerto Rico Senate makes it clear that Bioculture's exploitation of animals, the land, and the people of Puerto Rico is unwanted," says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "We hope that the Senate's progressive action will ring the death knell for Bioculture on the island."
The Senate's action follows a unanimous vote by the municipality of Guayama to ban the import, export, breeding, and use of monkeys in experiments within its territorial boundaries -- effectively shutting down Bioculture's operations.
Earlier this year, in response to a lawsuit filed by Guayama citizens and PETA, a Superior Court judge temporarily halted construction of Bioculture's facility after ruling that the company's construction permit was invalid.
In November 2009, the Senate Environmental Committee found that Bioculture's facility was improperly built on land that was not zoned for its purposes and raised serious concerns about the impact that the project would have on local citizens and their water supplies and land.
In March 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency fined Bioculture thousands of dollars for violating the federal Clean Water Act.