The following is PETA's response to earlier news that a rhesus monkey escaped from a Lawrenceville research center:
"Following from Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center on June 15—and has yet to be recaptured—PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the laboratory for possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
In a formal complaint filed this morning, PETA asserts that the escape indicates that the federally funded facility may have violated several provisions of the AWA, including failure to ensure that personnel are qualified to perform their duties, failure to adequately supervise employees, and failure to ensure that primary enclosures securely contain nonhuman primates.
"These intelligent, sensitive animals don't deserve the loneliness and trauma of life in a laboratory," says PETA Vice President of Laboratory Investigations Kathy Guillermo. "At the very least, Yerkes should adhere to the minimal standards put forth by the only federal law that provides any protection, the Animal Welfare Act."
Yerkes has previously been cited for violating several provisions of the AWA. Last May, USDA inspectors cited Yerkes for a violation of the AWA in response to an incident in which a cage housing three primates was mistakenly placed in a cage washer. Yerkes was charged with three additional violations in the same month.
And in 2007, Yerkes was assessed a $15,000 penalty for even more violations. Yerkes has drawn international criticism from leading primatologists, including Jane Goodall, for using more than 4,000 monkeys and apes in invasive and deadly experiments. Monkeys at Yerkes are torn away from their mothers, isolated in small cages, and subjected to experiments in which they are infected with deadly diseases, immobilized in restraint devices, and forcibly addicted to drugs.
Yerkes is also one of the very few facilities in the world that still uses humans' evolutionary cousins—chimpanzees—in harmful experiments. For more information, please visit PETA.org."