Monday, May 12, 2014
Secret Giant Monkey Breeding Company Owners Hiding?
LABELLE, FL. -- A primate breeding company hoping to build a facility for 3,200 monkeys in Hendry county on the border of Lee county is apparently being very careful to hide who owns and manages the company's land, called Oak Creek Hammock.
The company, Soflo Ag, only has mailing addresses at post office boxes at the UPS store in Lehigh Acres, Fl.
It is believed the new captive monkey facility will be used for breeding and quarantining macaque monkeys imported from Mauritius, an island southeast of Africa where the monkeys are bred and the offspring separated from the mothers and sold to export companies to get around regulations prohibiting buying and selling of wild-caught monkeys.
The young monkeys after being sold will end up in facilities like the ones in Hendry county and eventually sold to universities and private biological research companies who use young monkeys for experimental uses.
Aside from humans the macaques are the most widespread primate genus.
Controversy has arisen in recent weeks after well-known TV personality, Jane Velez-Mitchell broadcast a cable TV show on HLN about the proposed Hendry county monkey breeding facility and questioning who has governmental authority to authorize breeding facilities for primates, allowing them to be imported, sold. and used for animal experiments.
A company called Soflo Ag last year bought 34 acres of land just south of State Road 80 near Wheeler Road and adjacent to Lee county to house monkeys to be sold for experimentation to universities and private laboratories.
Hendry county already has a similar, but much larger primate facility, Primate Products on the Hendry and Collier county line on 640 acres, a square mile of land north of Immokalee.
The seller of the residential zoned land for $65,000 in February 2013 was A. Hopkins Kennemer, Jr. of Gulf Stream, Florida in Palm Beach county, The land is now planned as "Oak Creek Hammock" and was reviewed by Hendry zoning officials and the county commissioners.
The land is directly east, across a canal, from homes in Lehigh Acres, in an isolated area just north of homes and 2.5 acres residential lots in a Hendry county subdivision. There is limited fire and police protection in the Hendry subdivision because of limited access two bridges over the canal between Hendry and Lee county.
In 2013, Oak Creek Hammock received permission from the South Florida Water Management District to pump 6.5 million gallons of water yearly for drinking water for 3,200 monkeys and irrigation for 3 acres of landscaping. (See SFWMD permission letter with photo of property)
Last month Oak Creek Hammock received an environmental resource permit from the South Florida Water Management District to modify or build a storm water management system at the property. And the 34-acre property has reportedly been fenced in.
Three Monkey Companies Operating Out Of A UPS Store Mailbox
Attempting to find the actual land owners has lead to a dead end. Soflo Ag LLC, the company on the deed is owned by P2B2 LLC according to the State of Florida Secretary of State's office. Both company addresses are listed as 5781 Lee Blvd. in Lehigh Acres. That address is a UPS store.
But, P2B2 LLC is owned by XII LLC. And that company's address is also the UPS store mail box. But there the chain of ownership turns to either fraud, error, or something very unusual going on. In 2012, a "Zubair Khan" is listed as a representative of XII LLC on the company's annual filing with the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State's office said today there is no record of XII LLC. Soflo LLC's agent (for purposes of filing applications and getting government permits for development) is Rock Enterprises in LaBelle.
And Who Is Primera and 'Primera Management'?
Response to the community residents' concerns appeared in a local newspaper May 1, a "Primera statement" to the "Hendry Board of Commissioners & Residents" which disparaged press reports, Jane Velez-Mitchell and animal protection organization statements, including the Humane Society of the United States.
The author of the lengthy letter said, "The unbalanced and shock value style of reporting portrayed in the media by various animal rights extremists reflects a prejudicial and biased image of Primera."
The letter was signed by "Primera Management" with no no name of any official attached. A search for Primera with the Florida Secretary of State shows no information or registration of the name "Primera" and a Google search also shows no information on Primera as well.
Some investigations have speculated that PreLabs, Inc. and PrimGen of Hines, Il. are behind the monkey breeding enterprise. An employee named Mohammad Khan registered the online domain names prelabs.com, primgen.com and sofloag.com.
Several species of macaques are used extensively in animal testing, particularly in the neuroscience of visual perception and the visual system.
Nearly all (73–100%) pet and captive macaques are carriers of the herpes B virus. This virus is harmless to macaques, but infections of humans, while rare, are potentially fatal, a risk that makes macaques unsuitable as pets.
Previous Story (with video) On Monkey Breeding Facilities In Hendry
Photo: courtesy Skamnelis and Wikipedia