Reported Chinese land buy in Florida for primate testing won’t end well: Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel

Animal rights activists are voicing concerns over a reported recent purchase of 1,400 acres by a Chinese bioresearch firm in Florida for the purpose of primate breeding and quarantine.

JOINN Labs purchased the property off US-98 in July from a cattle and timber company for about $3.1 million, according to the Citrus Chronicle.

Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, who also serves as an adviser to PETA, told Fox News the primate experimentation “industry” is characteristically secretive and dangerous.

“Everyone has to recognize that this is a really significant risk, a risk to the monkeys who never make it out of these experiments or this industry alive — or worse, of the Florida residents, a risk to the entire country,” she said.


Monkey in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.
(Barry Lewis/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Jones-Engel said during the pandemic, 100,000 wild monkeys were brought into captivity in “filthy, disease-ridden” farms in Asia, where they were packed into crates and flown to the United States, often arriving ones that were diseased or dead.

Fox News host Jesse Watters pointed to that process, citing a highway crash on a frigid January night that led to several monkeys escaping into the forest of Montour County, Penn.


Travelers are greeted by a Florida Welcome Sign display at the I-75 Welcome Center complex in Jennings, Fla.

Travelers are greeted by a Florida Welcome Sign display at the I-75 Welcome Center complex in Jennings, Fla.
(Charlie Creitz/Fox News)

One passer-by initially thought the crated animals were housecats, with Watters noting the Good Samaritan later came down with conjunctivitis from her contact with the animal. The escaped primates were later captured and euthanized.

Jones-Engel noted that in addition to such incidents that endanger the public, results from experimentation on non-human primates are often negligible.

“The failure of these monkey experiments to actually lead to any meaningful improvements in human health, and now we have a Chinese company who is coming in saying, ‘Hey, we want a foothold in this industry — we want to place this massive quarantine and breeding facility in Florida,’” she said.


The city of Wuhan, China.

The city of Wuhan, China.
(iStock )

“This is not going to go well for anyone,” the expert added, noting the increased potential for “zoonotic disease” to emanate from such animal subjects.

Watters later noted the monkeys in the Pennsylvania incident were en route from JFK Airport in New York City to a federal CDC facility in the nation’s interior. 

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