DailyDispatchOnline

Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

There is a controversy surrounding the proposal to build a "mini-city" in the US that would house 30,000 monkeys for medical research purposes.
Science

There is a controversy surrounding the proposal to build a “mini-city” in the US that would house 30,000 monkeys for medical research purposes.

A proposal to create the biggest monkey breeding center in the United States has sparked strong opposition from animal welfare organizations and certain members of the community. The plan would involve housing 30,000 macaques in specially equipped warehouses in Georgia.

The extensive 200-acre facility will contain an abnormally high population of monkeys. These monkeys will later be distributed to universities and pharmaceutical companies for scientific studies. Within the next two decades, the establishment plans to gather a large group of around 30,000 long-tailed macaques, a type of monkey found in south-east Asia, within large barn-like structures in Bainbridge, Georgia. Interestingly, the human population in this area is only 14,000.

The creators of the $396 million simian city, Safer Human Medicine, have assured that the monkeys will be kept in extremely secure environments. They also stated that there will be no risk of disease transmission to the nearby community and that the monkeys will be provided with locally sourced, fresh food.

The company wrote an open letter to residents, expressing that we rely on these primates to protect the lives of ourselves and our loved ones. The letter included an image of monkeys happily playing with toys in a well-lit, apartment-style room.

However, the proposal is met with strong resistance as residents of Bainbridge urge local officials to prevent the building of the planned primate house. Ted Lee, a resident, stated, “They are not native to this area and having 30,000 of them would create an overpopulation of monkeys.” David Barber, who would live only 400ft away from the primate facility, also shared his concerns, saying, “I don’t believe anyone would want to live next to 30,000 monkeys.”

Organizations advocating for animal welfare are also urging for the abandonment of this proposal, stating that the practice of breeding primates for use in medical experiments is inhumane and does not yield significant advancements in human treatments due to biological variations between the two species.

Kathleen Conlee, vice-president of animal research issues for the Humane Society, expressed concern that this action not only endangers the survival of these primates in their natural habitat, but also contributes to a harmful pattern that we should be working to change. She urges local authorities to reject the plan to construct this facility and calls on the federal government to prioritize scientific research that can benefit both humans and animals in the long run.

Most medical experiments on animals use rodents, while only a small percentage involves primates. However, the use of our closest relatives, chimpanzees, for testing has been a controversial topic. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced they would no longer fund biomedical research on chimpanzees. Animal welfare groups have also urged for a wider ban and a shift towards alternative methods, such as utilizing new technologies like artificial intelligence.

Approximately 70,000 monkeys are utilized each year in the United States for experiments related to infectious diseases, aging, and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s. Researchers have expressed concern that there is a decreasing number of primates available for testing purposes. Safer Human Medicine intends to address this issue by constructing a miniature city for monkeys, which will also generate over 260 job opportunities for local individuals. The monkeys, which weigh between 5 and 7lbs and are known for their long tails, will not be captured from their natural habitats.

A representative from Safer Human Medicine stated that there is often a significant amount of false information circulating about animal research. The organization’s objective is to supply the Bainbridge community with truthful and precise details regarding the purpose and operations of their new facility. Despite any doubts, they remain confident that Bainbridge is the ideal location for this project and they intend to proceed with their plans based on the initial approvals and support they received.

The tax incentives for the construction of the facility were initially approved, but have since been revoked as local authorities decide whether to proceed with the project. Despite this, Safer Human Medicine remains determined to move forward with their monkey containment plan. The mayor of Bainbridge, Edward Reynolds, was asked for his input.

Source: theguardian.com