Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Monkey Argument Going To Trial

LABELLE, FL– The Animal Legal Defense Fund  today said that it's lawsuit challenging Hendry County, Florida’s approval of development permits for two new primate breeding facilities, is headed to trial, after Judge James D. Sloan denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund looks forward to laying out the facts documenting the county’s illegal conduct at trial,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The county clearly violated the Sunshine Law by quietly approving these wild primate facilities in back-door meetings without notice or a public meeting, despite their far-reaching and serious impacts.”

The lawsuit, on behalf of local landowners in Hendry and Lee county, alleges that the county’s permitting of the SoFlo Ag and Panther Tracts primate breeding facilities in closed-door conferences, without public notice or meetings, violated the state’s open government law, the Sunshine Law.

The SoFlo Ag and Panther Tracts primate breeding facilities would raise thousands of exotic macaques for sale to the biomedical research industry. The location of the SoFlo Ag facility, on the border of Hendry and Lee county within a few hundred yards of family residences just south of State Road 80, threatens property values and residents’ peaceful enjoyment of their homes, claims the plaintiffs in the case.

The proposed primate facilities is also alleged to pose a public health danger because of deadly infectious diseases the monkeys can carry; the risk of monkeys escaping; and threats to the surrounding ecosystems and water quality. Some investigations have revealed horrendous conditions for monkeys at other Hendry County primate breeding facilities, including cruelty and neglect, said ALDF.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.

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