No monkey-business at STPO

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1996:

DILLEY, Texas – – The
USDA Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service announced on May
10 that “Arashiyama West Primate
Center/South Texas Primate Observatory
director Lou Griffin and assistant
director Tracy Wyman, of Dilley,
Texas, agreed to surrender its registration
as a research facility” certified by
the Animal Welfare Act, and to
“cease engaging in activities that will
designate them as a covered dealer,
exhibitor, or research facility under
the Act, and, for Arashiyama and
Griffin, pay a combined civil penalty
of $15,000 which is suspended providing
no further violations of the Act.”


The complete context,
Griffin told ANIMAL PEOPLE, is
less dramatic. STPO was founded in
1972, when a colony of macaques was
brought to Texas after being displaced
by development in Arashi-yama,
Japan. When the Endangered Species
Act in 1973 extended federal authority
to the U.S. facility, it was licensed by
the USDA as a “research site” because
the monkeys were the subjects of ethological
research, i.e. observation, and
was also licensed to breed and sell animals.

“We gave the breeding and
selling permits back when we became
a sanctuary, in 1980,” Griffin said.
“Four or five years ago, we asked if
we could give the research permit
back, too,” to settle a series of USDA
citations accusing the facility of such
offenses as allowing the macaques to
live and eat off of dirt, and to swim in
their drinking water.
These would have been serious
matters at an indoor laboratory,
but STPO now affords the macaques
the run of a 50-acre natural habitat,
and by fall hopes to have all 600
moved to a more secure 183-acre site
near Millet, Texas, away from recent
problems with hunters. The macaques
are currently being relocated a few at a
time in small, pre-established troops.
After protracted negotiations,
Griffin said, the USDA agreed
to drop the citations in a deal taking
the form but not the substance of a
penalty.

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