Hendry County monkey farms cleared of wrongdoing

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. – Two monkey breeding facilities under intense scrutiny from animal rights activists have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Hendry County officials spent the last several months looking into claims of illegal activity at a facility owned by Primate Products, Inc., and another owned by Mannheimer Foundation.

Working with both state and federal agencies, the county investigated accusations that the facilities were conducting scientific research on their monkeys, not allowed under their current agricultural zoning. The county gathered dozens of documents and conducted one scheduled on-site inspection at each facility.

“We did not observe them doing any research, and because we did not observe it, we could not cite it… and so we are closing these investigations now,” Hendry County Administrator Charles Chapman told WINK News Wednesday.

The accusations of wrongdoing were brought forth by several animal rights activist groups. In response to the county’s conclusion, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Anaimals) sent WINK News a scathing statement saying in part:

“If importing and experimenting on monkeys is ‘agriculture,’ then the pope is an atheist… Hendry County’s decision on this zoning issue will inflame the situation, not defuse it, and will certainly inspire even greater efforts to close down these monkey prisons.”

Chapman says the county will keep an open mind, and if more evidence comes to light in the future, it will investigate accordingly.