CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Chinese airline shipped 720 endangered long-tailed macaques from Cambodia to Chicago, destined for a notorious Alice, Texas, monkey facility, according to a complaint filed by PETA.
After PETA filed the complaint, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of Law Enforcement called for an investigation on August 25.
"The USDA confirmed to PETA that it had canceled Hainan Airline's registration in May, making this shipment an apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)," said officials.
Based on a whistleblower report, the monkeys were sent to a facility operated by Envigo Global Services Inc. in Alice, Texas.
"Envigo has repeatedly shown that it values profits over animal welfare," said officials.
Envigo's beagle-breeding facility in Virginia was cited for 48 violations last year, and officials said the facility was shut down with thousands of beagles relocated to various cities across the U.S.
In 2019, the USDA also cited Envigo's monkey facility in Alice, Texas with a critical violation of the AWA for failing to provide 25 monkeys with food for six days.
According to a press release from PETA, Envigo had to euthanize two of these monkeys because they were so severely starved.
"Whether you're talking about beagles or monkeys, Envigo cannot be trusted to take care of animals or safeguard public health," says PETA Senior Science Advisor Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel.
"Monkeys brought in from squalid farms in Asia endure terrifying, grueling journeys and can harbor everything from Ebola to malaria. If Hainan can't be bothered to do the minimum of registering itself as required and Envigo doesn't ensure that its carrier is legitimate, we have to ask whether they're following any of the protocols required for public safety," said Jones-Engel.
According to PETA, Hainan appears to be one of the last airlines still shipping monkeys to laboratories.