Protesters call on Hendry Co. commissioners to shut down monkey farm

Reporter: Mike Walcher
Published: Updated:

CLEWISTON, Fla.- Protesters angry over the treatment of monkeys at a Hendry County monkey farm are calling on county commissioners to shut down Primate Products.

Primate Products supplies jobs to people in the county, but animal rights activists claim the monkey farm is inhumane and must be closed.

Protestors with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida arrived at the Clewiston City Hall Tuesday afternoon, where the Hendry County Commission meets Tuesday evening.

PETA has released undercover videos that it says proves the cruel and inhumane treatment of the monkeys.

“My main concern is the torture of animals. I feel at this point, in this century and time, there’s no need to be harming animals,” said animal rights activist Kari Ryan. “I’m very passionate when it comes to animals, they have no voice, they have no rights.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating Primate Products based in part on the PETA video. The company says it corrects mistakes in dealing with the animals when it discovers them. Primate Products also adds Hendry County is perfect for this operation, because of the mild climate, and because it can employ residents who grew up on farms, and are used to working with animals.

One county commissioner said he has to weigh activists’ concerns with the rights of landowners in the county.

“Hendry County stands behind the rights of the landowners and we will do everything we can to make sure they are in compliance and following all ordinances,” Commissioner Mike Swindelle said. “You don’t want animals mistreated and we want to make sure all compliance are taking place.”

The latest protest occurred outside a county commissioner meeting despite the issue of monkey farms not being on the agenda.

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