In May, ARFF joined with Action for Primates and One Voice to alert our supporters about a pending shipment of monkeys from Mauritius to Miami. As many as 1,200 monkeys were to be exported for use in experiments or toxicity (poisoning) testing. We urged people to ask Skybus Jet Cargo, who had been hired to fly the monkeys on the extremely long-distance journey, to reject the shipment. The response we received to our action alert from people around the world was overwhelming, demonstrating the widespread public concern there is on this issue. However, despite this, Skybus did not respond to our concerns, so we feared that the shipment had gone ahead as planned.
Last week, we learned of a breach of contract lawsuit filed against Skybus Jet Cargo by a company called International Logistics Support. When we read the complaint, it was clear that the lawsuit was about the shipment of monkeys in our action alert. Skybus Jet Cargo had cancelled the shipment, in part because of “certain political activist organizations.” On behalf of the monkeys, we are happy that Skybus chose not to get involved in the cruel primate trade.
The surprise victory reminds us of a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” We are grateful to everyone who contacted Skybus Jet Cargo in response to our action alert!
The court files also revealed that Matt Block, an infamous primate dealer who we’ve written about before on this blog, is an owner of International Logistics Support.
(Miami) – Miami-based World Wide Primates has been awarded a $1,840,000 contract to provide hundreds of monkeys to the National Institutes of Health in a “emergency acquisition” due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
World Wide Primates is a family business owned by Matt Block, a man with a history of serious crimes:
- In federal court in January 2018, Matt Block pled guilty to one count of “False information and hoaxes.” Block admitted mailing envelopes containing suspicious white powder and a threatening letter to the home of a World Wide Primates employee and to his own mother’s house, and lying to federal law enforcement agents about his involvement in the bizarre scheme.
- In 1993, Block was sentenced to 13 months in prison for smuggling endangered wildlife (baby orangutans).
“The National Institutes of Health should not be doing business with an individual like Matt Block who has a history of serious violations of federal criminal law,” said Nick Atwood, Campaigns Coordinator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF). “Providing monkeys for use in experimentation is a dirty business, and Block is one of the dirtiest.”
The use of monkeys and other animals in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine is not only cruel and expensive, but is unnecessary. Because of biological differences between species, animal experiments yield results that cannot be safely applied to humans. ARFF believes that the quickest way to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is through human clinical trials and tests using human tissues and cells (including blood samples from people who have recovered from COVID-19 infections).
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The Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, OR) has again purchased monkeys from Worldwide Primates, a Miami-based laboratory animal supplier with a horrible history.
In response to a public records request, ARFF has received copies of paperwork filed by Worldwide Primates with the Oregon Department of Agriculture detailing a shipment of 12 baboons and four crab-eating macaques from Florida to Oregon.
A similar shipment of 27 monkeys in September 2015 was the subject of an article by InvestigateWest (the article also highlighted Oregon’s public records exemption for information about animal research at OHSU).
Miami-based Worldwide Primates is one of the country’s largest importers of monkeys for use in experimentation. The company is run by Matt Block, who was sent to prison in the 1990s after being convicted of smuggling endangered wildlife (baby orangutans) in the infamous “Bangkok Six” case.
You Can Help
Ask OHSU to reconsider doing business with Worldwide Primates. Contact:
Oregon Health & Science University
Online comment form (bottom of page)
There is a nondescript building at 7780 Northwest 53rd Street in Doral, not far from the Miami International Airport, that over the past 25 years has housed thousands of monkeys destined to suffer and die in research and testing laboratories. There are no signs to identify the business. The only hints as to what went on inside its grey walls are security cameras, empty cages stored alongside the building, and a foul smell.
When monkeys are imported to the United States, federal regulations require that they be isolated for at least 31 days to screen for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Beginning in the mid-80s, the building in Doral was used to quarantine monkeys imported by animal dealer Matt Block and his company Worldwide Primates. At any one time, hundreds of monkeys from China, Mauritius, Indonesia, St. Kitts & Nevis and other countries were confined in small cages inside the building.
In December 1994, as Block was appealing his conviction for smuggling endangered wildlife, the building was sold to Paul Houghton, the owner of another importer of monkeys for use in experimentation and testing, Primate Products, Inc. (Matt Block entered prison in 1995.)
Today, the protest group South Florida Smash HLS announced that Primate Products has closed its monkey quarantine facility in Doral. For the first time in more than 25 years, the building is empty.
ARFF hopes that the closure of the quarantine facility is a sign that South Florida is becoming inhospitable for companies involved in the cruel animal research industry.