There is a nondescript building at 7780 Northwest 53rd Street in Doral, not far from the Miami International Airport, that over the past 25 years has housed thousands of monkeys destined to suffer and die in research and testing laboratories. There are no signs to identify the business. The only hints as to what went on inside its grey walls are security cameras, empty cages stored alongside the building, and a foul smell.
When monkeys are imported to the United States, federal regulations require that they be isolated for at least 31 days to screen for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Beginning in the mid-80s, the building in Doral was used to quarantine monkeys imported by animal dealer Matt Block and his company Worldwide Primates. At any one time, hundreds of monkeys from China, Mauritius, Indonesia, St. Kitts & Nevis and other countries were confined in small cages inside the building.
In December 1994, as Block was appealing his conviction for smuggling endangered wildlife, the building was sold to Paul Houghton, the owner of another importer of monkeys for use in experimentation and testing, Primate Products, Inc. (Matt Block entered prison in 1995.)
Today, the protest group South Florida Smash HLS announced that Primate Products has closed its monkey quarantine facility in Doral. For the first time in more than 25 years, the building is empty.
ARFF hopes that the closure of the quarantine facility is a sign that South Florida is becoming inhospitable for companies involved in the cruel animal research industry.
This week, the Colombian Congress approved a ban on wild animals in circuses. Bill sponsor Senator Juan Córdoba Suárez explained that the purpose of the ban “is to protect animals and citizens who can be exposed to possible attacks or transmissible diseases, as well as to respond to the cry of a great majority of Colombians who seek protection, respect and good treatment of animals.”
Colombia’s President is expected to sign the law, which gives circuses two years to comply with the new legislation.
Colombia will become the fourth country in Latin America to ban wild animals in circuses, joining Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.
There is a large Colombian American community in Florida. ARFF is hopeful that Colombia’s decision will be heard by political leaders in Florida.
Send a quick note to the Consulate General of Colombia and thank them for the country’s compassionate step on behalf of animals:
Consulate General of Colombia in Miami
An article in Saturday’s Palm Beach Post about Larson Dairy, one of Florida’s largest dairy farms, included this photo of dozens of young calves, confined individually in small wire hutches covered with a piece of fabric for shade. Why aren’t these calves with their mother? Because humans are drinking her milk!
On large dairy farms, calves are taken from their mother shortly after birth and fed artificially. (Female calves are raised as “replacements” for adult cows who are sent to slaughter when their production declines.) The calves spend the first weeks of their lives cut off almost completely from contact with other cows. Not all calves survive the stressful, unnatural, forced separation from their mother.
When ARFF visited a Florida dairy farm we found one poor calf dead and covered in flies inside a wire hutch. A video of the disturbing scene can be found on ARFF’s YouTube page.
The Palm Beach Post article did include some good news: Milk sales are declining! Among the reasons, “Soy, almond, and rice milks and other alternatives are cutting into market share.”
Visit ARFF’s website to learn more about the dairy industry, or click here to download ARFF’s dairy brochure.
Muscovy ducks are frequent targets of cruelty in Florida. Sadly, allegations of abuse have often been ignored by police and state wildlife officials. But that may be changing.
- In Pinellas County Court on April 30, Michael Maszera pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty and received 12 months probation and a $450 fine. It was the conclusion to a disturbing case that began in a residential neighborhood in the City of Dunedin in August 2012 when Maszera shot a Muscovy duck with a BB gun and then proceeded to beat the animal with a shovel. ARFF had written to the State Attorney urging cruelty charges in the case.
- This week we learned that the State Attorney for Volusia County is considering criminal (animal cruelty) charges in the killing of Muscovy ducks in an Ormond Beach neighborhood earlier this month. On May 3, a pest control company (TruTech, Inc.) was hired by the homeowners association to remove ducks. A TruTech employee used an airgun in an attempt to kill the ducks. Shortly afterwards, residents were shocked to find dead ducks floating in a neighborhood pond as well as severely injured ducks.
Regardless of the different labels attached to the birds (native or non-native, wild or domestic, nuisance or loved), Muscovy ducks, like all animals, are protected from harassment and inhumane killing under Florida’s anti-cruelty law.
You can help to ensure that criminal charges are filed against the individuals responsible for the senseless killing of ducks in Ormond Beach. Write to the State Attorney and urge him to take this case seriously and pursue criminal charges against the individuals responsible. Contact:
State Attorney R. J. Larizza
251 N. Ridgewood Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Fax: (386) 239-7711
Click here to learn more about Muscovy ducks in Florida.
Yesterday, an Animal Control Officer in Port St. Lucie rescued a raccoon who had been caught in an illegal leghold trap. The poor animal’s front paw had to be amputated (a report by Fox 29 News features a photo of the raccoon’s horrific injuries).
In 1972, Florida banned the use of steel-jaw leghold traps, but they are still widely used by trappers in other states to catch raccoons, coyotes, bobcats and other fur-bearing animals. When an animal steps on a leghold trap, the trap’s jaws slam closed on the animal’s limb. The animals efforts to escape often lead to serious injuries.
If you ever hear someone defend trapping as humane, or if you’ve ever considered purchasing a coat with fur trim, please remember the sad photo of this raccoon.
By coincidence, the National Trappers Association Southeast Regional Trapping & Outdoor Expo, hosted by The Florida Trappers Association, was held last weekend in Live Oak, Florida.
April 30th, 2013 by admin
The headlines of stories this week about the Cracker Day rodeo at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand were about a woman who was trampled and gored by a bull, but what we found more interesting was a statement by a spectator.
John Weideman-Beal told WESH Ch. 2 that before the bull was released from the chute he saw something odd: “I saw one of the handlers reach down in there, and I don’t know if they cattle-prodded it or what, and it went from a little ornery to bucking, kicking and shewing, and I said, ‘That is one crazy bull. Somebody is going to get hurt.’”
It’s common for rodeo organizers to talk about “mean bulls” and the bucking “instinct” of bulls. It’s less common for a member of the public to spot the bucking straps, electro-shock prods or the tail-twisting that provoke animals into displaying wild behavior.
Visit ARFF’s website to learn more about the violent abuse of animals in the rodeo.
April 24th, 2013 by admin
Today is World Day for Animals in Laboratories, a day to remember the millions of animals who suffer and die in labs in Florida and around the world.
One way to evaluate the impact of campaigns against animal experiments is to look at the reaction of campaign targets. Earlier this month, the following message was posted on a laboratory animal listserv by Matt Block (email@example.com). Block runs Worldwide Primates, a Miami company that imports and sells monkeys for use in research and testing. He was sent to federal prison in the 1990s after being convicted of smuggling endangered wildlife. We’ve written about Matt Block previously on this blog (here).
“An additional meeting is being planned in the South Florida area to discuss current and upcoming matters relating to animal rights groups and local activism. Anyone interested in additional information and for information on attending, please contact me directly off list. I would encourage all of you from the South Florida area to make time to attend this important meeting. It is critical to the safety and security of your research, staff, and facilities.
If you are unable to attend, perhaps forward to your Security staff or local law enforcement for their consideration.
Worldwide Primates, Inc.
Suppliers of Cynomolgus/Rhesus/Caribbean Greens/Marmosets/Squirrel
The meetings to discuss animal rights activism in South Florida (an initial meeting was held in February) can be seen as an encouraging sign that anti-vivisection activists, such as South Florida Smash HLS, are making an impact!
April 23rd, 2013 by admin
Last week, a man in Lee County was arrested on animal cruelty charges after it was discovered he had branded his dog and docked the dog’s tail without anesthesia. Lee County Domestic Animal Services veterinarian Suzanne Vazzana explained that branding can cause “considerable pain and suffering.”
We hope that if this individual is found guilty that he receives the maximum penalty and loses custody of the dog. But it is a sad reflection on how society views animals that tail docking and branding are among the painful mutilations commonly suffered by cows in the beef and dairy industries in Florida, without any action from law enforcement.
Cows, like the dog in Lee County, suffer third-degree burns from branding. Cows, like all animals, are protected under Florida’s anti-cruelty statute (828.12). Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to convince a prosecutor to file criminal charges against a farmer for branding or cutting off the tail of a cow.
We look forward to a day when dogs and cows are no longer treated differently under the law.
April 12th, 2013 by admin
We were shocked this week to see the news that an elephant traveling with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had been shot during a stop in Tupelo, Mississippi. Thankfully, the injury was not life-threatening and Carol the elephant is expected to recover. We hope those responsible for this horrible crime will be quickly identified and arrested.
Animal activists in South Florida may recognize the elephant victim. Carol was one of three elephants who, beginning in 1989, performed daily at the Swap Shop flea market in Fort Lauderdale. After 15 years, the flea market ended its financial support and the circus was evicted in 2005. The campaign against the Swap Shop circus was one of ARFF’s longest.
In 1990, Carol crushed a circus worker to death in the parking lot at the Swap Shop.
When Carol recovers, we hope that she does not rejoin the circus. Carol has suffered long enough. She deserves a peaceful retirement, free from constant travel chained in the back of a truck, and safe from random shootings!
This week there will be speeches, unveilings of statues and a commemorative stamp, historical re-enactments and other events to mark Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival in Florida on April 2, 1513. The Florida Department of Agriculture is celebrating the introduction by the Spanish of horses, cattle and oranges to Florida. Ponce de Leon can also be credited with first introducing wild pigs to Florida.
Today, wild pigs are considered non-native, despite the fact that they were in Florida several decades before the City of St. Augustine was founded, and over 300 years before Florida became a state.
The non-native designation may not mean much for cracker horses or oranges, but it has been used as justification for horrible acts of cruelty against wild pigs.
In Florida hunters use packs of dogs, and primitive weapons like knives and spears, to chase down and kill wild pigs. Such cruel acts would not be allowed in the pursuit of deer or other ‘native’ animals in Florida.
ARFF is calling on the State of Florida to end the use of dogs to hunt wild pigs, prohibit the use of inhumane weapons, such as spears and swords, and prohibit castration by hunters of young male pigs without anesthesia. Visit ARFF’s website for more information about wild pigs in Florida, and to learn how you can help.