August 1st, 2013 by admin
Between June 2012 and April 2013, Primate Products shipped 1,000 monkeys to contract research organizations, universities and government labs.
In the most recent* batch of State of Florida records that ARFF reviewed, it’s clear that business has changed for the company. Compared to the previous 11 months, Primate Products had fewer customers and shipped far fewer animals. Click here to download a summary of the shipments.
The biggest Primate Products customer (making up 30% of its total business) was the National Institutes of Health. Between September 2012 and April 2013, Primate Products trucked over 300 monkeys to the NIH Animal Center in Dickerson, Maryland. At the Center, the monkeys will be held for breeding or sent on to an NIH institute where they will suffer and die in experiments. (photo: rhesus monkeys at the NIH Animal Center)
The records also revealed a few new Primate Products customers, including Columbia University and Princeton University– two laboratories with histories of animal abuse and neglect (see here and here).
As ARFF reported previously, Primate Products has closed its Miami quarantine facility and is now operating solely out of its Immokalee location. How are they doing? On July 9, a USDA inspector found problems with food storage (insects and rodent droppings in food containers) at the facility.
*ARFF released similar sets of records in June 2012 and in November 2011. The summaries are based on health certificates filed by Primate Products with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, and may not include all shipments that took place.
On July 20 an alligator wrestler at the Native Village roadside zoo in Hollywood was bitten and seriously injured by an alligator. The man, Will Nace, was preparing for a common trick during wrestling shows– during which an alligator is tormented with a stick or hit on the nose until the animal opens his or her mouth (to show the alligator’s teeth to the crowd)– when the alligator bit down on his arm and pulled him into the water. Nace told WSVN Ch. 7 that he had performed the trick “three or four times a day for the past year,” but this time the alligator reacted differently. Nace’s right arm was broken in two different places and he suffered severe skin lacerations. He is recovering at a local hospital.
During wrestling shows, alligators are roughly treated and intentionally provoked in order to entertain a crowd. Native Village is one of only a handful of roadside attractions in Florida where alligator wrestling can still be witnessed. Visit ARFF’s website for more information about the cruel spectacle.
Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and urge them to stop the harassment of all Florida wildlife, including captive alligators. By discouraging alligator wrestling shows, the FWC would not only protect alligators from abusive treatment, but would ensure human safety as well.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Online comment form
On June 28, U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (representing Florida’s 16th Congressional District) introduced a resolution condemning the killing of sharks for their fins. The resolution states: “the United States should ban and prevent the import of shark fins from sharks caught through the practice of finning.” Thanks Vern!
Florida U.S. Representatives C.W. Bill Young, Frederica Wilson, Patrick Murphy, Alcee Hastings and Ander Crenshaw are among those who quickly signed on as cosponsors of the resolution.
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins, an ingredient in shark fin soup. “Finning,” removing a shark’s fins and dumping the injured fish back into the ocean, is banned in U.S. (and Florida) waters. But fins from sharks outside U.S. territorial waters continue to be imported into the country. A federal ban on shark fin products would help to eliminate the cruel trade around the world.
Shriners International is a fraternal organization with 195 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada and around the world. More than half of the individual temples host cruel circuses as fundraisers.
The 2013 Imperial Session of Shriners International will be held June 30-July 4 in Indianapolis. At the 2012 meeting, it was reported that Shriners International had lost over 15,000 members during the past year (out of a total membership of 310,000).
Due to dwindling membership and rising costs, some Shrine temples have been forced to sell their building. Fort Myer’s Araba Shrine announced in May that it would sell its 30,000-square-foot building. The Amara Shrine (Palm Beach Gardens) is also selling an affiliated Shrine Club building in Boca Raton.
Certainly, circuses aren’t the only problem faced by Shriners International, but getting rid of circuses would be a good step toward improving its public image and turning around a struggling organization.
Please follow this link to sign ARFF’s petition and send a message to the Imperial Divan, the governing body of Shriners International, that non-animal fundraisers should be encouraged: www.change.org/petitions/shriners-international-stop-hosting-cruel-circuses
Shriners International is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.
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.
This week, the Colombian Congress approved a ban on wild animals in circuses. Bill sponsor Senator Juan Córdoba Suárez explained that the purpose of the ban “is to protect animals and citizens who can be exposed to possible attacks or transmissible diseases, as well as to respond to the cry of a great majority of Colombians who seek protection, respect and good treatment of animals.”
Colombia’s President is expected to sign the law, which gives circuses two years to comply with the new legislation.
Colombia will become the fourth country in Latin America to ban wild animals in circuses, joining Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.
There is a large Colombian American community in Florida. ARFF is hopeful that Colombia’s decision will be heard by political leaders in Florida.
Send a quick note to the Consulate General of Colombia and thank them for the country’s compassionate step on behalf of animals:
Consulate General of Colombia in Miami
An article in Saturday’s Palm Beach Post about Larson Dairy, one of Florida’s largest dairy farms, included this photo of dozens of young calves, confined individually in small wire hutches covered with a piece of fabric for shade. Why aren’t these calves with their mother? Because humans are drinking her milk!
On large dairy farms, calves are taken from their mother shortly after birth and fed artificially. (Female calves are raised as “replacements” for adult cows who are sent to slaughter when their production declines.) The calves spend the first weeks of their lives cut off almost completely from contact with other cows. Not all calves survive the stressful, unnatural, forced separation from their mother.
When ARFF visited a Florida dairy farm we found one poor calf dead and covered in flies inside a wire hutch. A video of the disturbing scene can be found on ARFF’s YouTube page.
The Palm Beach Post article did include some good news: Milk sales are declining! Among the reasons, “Soy, almond, and rice milks and other alternatives are cutting into market share.”
Visit ARFF’s website to learn more about the dairy industry, or click here to download ARFF’s dairy brochure.
Muscovy ducks are frequent targets of cruelty in Florida. Sadly, allegations of abuse have often been ignored by police and state wildlife officials. But that may be changing.
- In Pinellas County Court on April 30, Michael Maszera pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty and received 12 months probation and a $450 fine. It was the conclusion to a disturbing case that began in a residential neighborhood in the City of Dunedin in August 2012 when Maszera shot a Muscovy duck with a BB gun and then proceeded to beat the animal with a shovel. ARFF had written to the State Attorney urging cruelty charges in the case.
- This week we learned that the State Attorney for Volusia County is considering criminal (animal cruelty) charges in the killing of Muscovy ducks in an Ormond Beach neighborhood earlier this month. On May 3, a pest control company (TruTech, Inc.) was hired by the homeowners association to remove ducks. A TruTech employee used an airgun in an attempt to kill the ducks. Shortly afterwards, residents were shocked to find dead ducks floating in a neighborhood pond as well as severely injured ducks.
Regardless of the different labels attached to the birds (native or non-native, wild or domestic, nuisance or loved), Muscovy ducks, like all animals, are protected from harassment and inhumane killing under Florida’s anti-cruelty law.
You can help to ensure that criminal charges are filed against the individuals responsible for the senseless killing of ducks in Ormond Beach. Write to the State Attorney and urge him to take this case seriously and pursue criminal charges against the individuals responsible. Contact:
State Attorney R. J. Larizza
251 N. Ridgewood Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Fax: (386) 239-7711
Click here to learn more about Muscovy ducks in Florida.
Yesterday, an Animal Control Officer in Port St. Lucie rescued a raccoon who had been caught in an illegal leghold trap. The poor animal’s front paw had to be amputated (a report by Fox 29 News features a photo of the raccoon’s horrific injuries).
In 1972, Florida banned the use of steel-jaw leghold traps, but they are still widely used by trappers in other states to catch raccoons, coyotes, bobcats and other fur-bearing animals. When an animal steps on a leghold trap, the trap’s jaws slam closed on the animal’s limb. The animals efforts to escape often lead to serious injuries.
If you ever hear someone defend trapping as humane, or if you’ve ever considered purchasing a coat with fur trim, please remember the sad photo of this raccoon.
By coincidence, the National Trappers Association Southeast Regional Trapping & Outdoor Expo, hosted by The Florida Trappers Association, was held last weekend in Live Oak, Florida.
April 30th, 2013 by admin
The headlines of stories this week about the Cracker Day rodeo at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand were about a woman who was trampled and gored by a bull, but what we found more interesting was a statement by a spectator.
John Weideman-Beal told WESH Ch. 2 that before the bull was released from the chute he saw something odd: “I saw one of the handlers reach down in there, and I don’t know if they cattle-prodded it or what, and it went from a little ornery to bucking, kicking and shewing, and I said, ‘That is one crazy bull. Somebody is going to get hurt.’”
It’s common for rodeo organizers to talk about “mean bulls” and the bucking “instinct” of bulls. It’s less common for a member of the public to spot the bucking straps, electro-shock prods or the tail-twisting that provoke animals into displaying wild behavior.
Visit ARFF’s website to learn more about the violent abuse of animals in the rodeo.